Scientist needs help gathering Amanita mushrooms in Texas!

Hi Y’all,

I am a postdoctoral researcher at University of Texas, working on biology of colors in plants/ fungi. I am trying understand now how certain mushrooms make red pigments, and to do so need some red and not-so-red Amanita mushrooms, of which I can’t seem to find any (Texas is rather hot and dry at the moment- not exactly mushroom-friendly).

We are hoping that someone on here who has seen some might be willing to mail us a sample. We have special tubes and packaging we can send you for sample harvest.

Alternatively, if anyone can point me in the direction of where I might find some within a few hours of Austin, Texas, that information is just as valuable!

Any help anyone can offer is greatly appreciated!

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well, the whole greater Houston area just had some much-needed rain dumped on it, and i’m expecting some interesting mushrooms to start popping up soon. so you could keep an eye on (or subscribe to) mushroom observations in the area over the next couple of weeks and reach out to observers via the iNat messaging system. are you interested in Amanitas only, or would you be interested in other red mushrooms like Chanterelles? :metal:

We are hoping for Amanita, mostly because the fly agaric is such an “iconic” mushroom.

Thank you for the suggestions! I will keep an eye on the mushroom observations and perhaps go looking myself!

Will you be investigating Amanitas only or other red mushrooms too? The only red Amanitas I can think of are A. muscaria and caesarea. The pigments of fly agaric have been topics of research a few times, are you continuing on those findings?

There are many species of red Russulas, other red basidiomycetes like Hygrocybe, red boletes, and more I’m forgetting. I think Hygrocybe and Amanita share the same pigment. For ascomycetes you can find Sarcoscypha and Scutellinia pretty easily!

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How large is your search area?

Anywhere within a few hours of Austin!

looks like someone observed a couple of orange Amanitas near Lufkin this afternoon, though that might be more than a few hours from Austin:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33387279
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33387302

also, someone else spotted an orange one a couple of days ago southwest of Huntsville, which is a little closer:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33259120

i haven’t seen any orange or red Amanitas in my usual stomping grounds, though i have seen lots of new mushrooms lately (since the rains). i did see a tall, skinny brown mushroom with yellowish “warts” that sort of looked Amanita-like, but i didn’t have time to stop and take a photo (sorry).

UPDATE: another sighting, this time in Houston proper: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33423288. if the coordinates are correct, these are my usual stomping grounds. i can probably go over to look for it over the weekend and at least confirm location, if that would help.

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I don’t know mushrooms very well, but according to Identifications posted to an observation (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33433455) I’ve seen at least one. The problem is that at this time of year temperatures are heading to below freezing and are likely to stay that way until April/May. Mushrooms here tend to come out in the fall, which would make it a year or so away. How long are you willing to wait for samples?

It might be worthwhile to change the title of the thread to reflect your focus on the Austin, TX, area, then.

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Yes, that would be so helpful! I’m glad to see they are in the area and may go check out said sightings this weekend.

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ok. i went and looked for Amanitas in Memorial Park in Houston this afternoon, and i found quite a few. see https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?created_on=2019-09-30&place_id=any&subview=grid&taxon_id=47167&user_id=pisum&verifiable=any. i’m pretty sure 5 of these observations show Amanitas, but i’m not sure about the 6th. the coordinates should be pretty good, and you can see on the map that these are mostly along the Yellow trail. (i also explored parts of the Red, Blue, Purple, and Orange trails but didn’t really see much reddish Amanita action there, though there were whitish mushrooms that i didn’t photograph which could have been Amanitas.) if you go, make sure you familiarize yourself with the trail map because it’s easy to get lost on your first visit. watch out for cyclists on the weekends and on weekday afternoons, too. there aren’t any deer or horse flies in the park, but the mosquitoes this afternoon were about as bad as i’ve ever seen them along any of the wooded trails. you’ll definitely want long sleeves, pants, and a hat, or lots of strong insect repellent. (i usually don’t mind mosquitoes, but i was planning to do some nighttime exploring with my UV light, and i decided against it after about the 50th bite.) hope this helps.

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Wow! Thank you so much, I will try to get out there this weekend! I also much appreciate the notes on mosquitos!

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