Life Cycle of Fungi

How Fungi "Reproduce"

Let's go over the structure of the Fungi

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Function of the Fungus' parts

  • Cap: It supports and protects the gills or pores
  • Gills: (or pores) It grows under the cap and produces spores. To produce, protect, and scatter its spores is why the toadstool grows
  • Ring: The ring is what is left on the stem as the cap grows and breaks the veil. It provides extra protection for the spores when the toadstool is young.
  • Spores: Spores are the reproductive cell, kind of like seeds but are not seeds, that are released from the parent plant to grow (germinate) into new individuals.
  • Stalk: It holds up the cap so that when the spores drop down they are high enough off the ground to drift away.
  • Hyphae: The hyphae absorbs nutrients from the environment and transports them to other parts of the fungus body.
  • Mycelium: It is the hidden 'body' of the fungus. It finds food for the fungus and when conditions are suitable, it is able to produce a toadstool.
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Major steps of Reproduction:

  1. Spores are released from the gills of a mature mushroom/fungi.
  2. The spores then drift away from the parent plant.
  3. The spores will only start to grow if they land in an environment that is damp and abundant of food sources.
  4. If the conditions are right, then the spores will begin to eat and grow into long threads called hyphae.
  5. The 2 types of hyphae will combine and continue growing to form into mycelium. (Sexual Reproduction)
  6. The mycelium continues to grow and spread until eventually forming into a mushroom.
  7. The fruiting body will then grow to a mature mushroom and release more spores. (Asexual)

Asexual Reproduction

Fungi reproduce asexually by fragmentation, budding, or producing spores. Fragments of hyphae can grow new colonies. Mycelial fragmentation occurs when a fungal mycelium separates into pieces with each component growing into a separate mycelium. Somatic cells in yeast form buds. During budding (a type of cytokinesis), a bulge forms on the side of the cell, the nucleus divides mitotically, and the bud ultimately detaches itself from the mother cell.
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Sexual Reproduction

Fungi reproduce sexually to introduce the possibility of variation into a population. Most fungi have both a haploid and diploid stage in their life cycles. In sexually reproducing fungi, individuals may combine by fusing their hyphae together into an interconnected network.


To achieve sexual reproduction it is necessary to have two mating type haploid nuclei (n + n), or a diploid (2n) nucleus. In the case of the two haploid nuclei they must fuse to form a diploid cell first, but once fused, the nuclei undergo meiosis, which is the reduction division that potentially causes variation in the offspring. Spores are created by this formation and are resting spores that can withstand harsh environmental conditions.

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