Tetraplodon mnioides (Black fruited stink moss)

Tetraplodon mnioides belongs to a family of mosses called the Splachnaceae, or dung mosses.  

It is a dung loving species– coprophilous - like many other species in the family.  It grows on dung, animal remains, and regurgitated pellets of birds of prey. 

The Splachnaceae are unique among seedless plants, because many species in the family - including T. mnioides - rely on insects rather than wind for spore dispersal

Like flowering plants that use insects to disperse pollen, these mosses display several adaptations to attract flies

  • they produce a tall, highly visible sporophyte which produces foul smelling compounds mimicking those of faeces or carrion
  • their spores are sticky and adhere to the visiting flies ‘hitching a lift’ to the next suitable substrate.

Species detail

  • tetraplodon-mnioides
    Taxonomy

    Tetraplodon mnioides has conspicuous spore-producing structures. Find out what else sets it apart from its close relatives.

  • tetraplodon mnioides
    Distribution and habitat

    Tetraplodon mnioides is found as far north as the Arctic and as far south as Borneo and South America. Find out more.

  • tetraplodon mnioides
    Biology

    Tetraplodon mnioides produces both male and female sex organs on the same plant. Its spores are dispersed by flies attracted to the large smelly spore-containing capsules that project from the moss.

  • tetraplodon mnioides
    Conservation

    Tetraplodon mnioides is not threatened, but has disappeared from some parts of the UK. Find out why.

  • tetraplodon-mnioides
    References

    Get  more reference material for Tetraplodon mnioides.

Images

Tetraplodon mnioides

Tetraplodon mnioides growing on rabbit bones.

© J.G. Duckett
Tetraplodon mnioides beginning to colonize animal scat, possibly fox.

Tetraplodon mnioides beginning to colonize animal scat, possibly fox.

© S. Pressel
Tetraplodon mnioides growing together with Tetraplodon angustatus.

Tetraplodon mnioides growing together with Tetraplodon angustatus.

© G. Rothero
Tetraplodon mnioides

The moss Tetraplodon mnioides  in Glen Affric, Scotland.

© S. Pressel
Tetraplodon mnioides

Tetraplodon mnioides with abundant capsules.

© G. Rothero
Tetraplodon mnioides

Capsules of the dung moss Tetraplodon mnioides.

© S. Pressel
About the author
Dr Silvia Pressel
Dr Silvia Pressel

Botanical diversity researcher in the Plants Division, Life Sciences department.

Share this
Glossary

Sporophyte is a spore producing structure

Setae are bristles or hair-like structures