Photomicrograph of Pilobolus crystallinus, the hat-throwing fungus

Hat thrower fungus

Hat-thrower fungi earn their name from their habit of firing spore capsules away from the parent fungus. The spores stick to grass and can safely pass through a grazing animal's digestive tract, so that they emerge from the other end in a dollop of dung. These fungi then grow in the dung completing the life cycle. This fungus rarely reaches 5cm in height, but can propel the spore capsule a mighty 2m away.

Scientific name: Pilobolus crystallinus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Cap throwing fungus,
  • Dung cannon

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The Hat thrower fungus can be found in a number of locations including: Australia, China, Europe, North America, Russia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Hat thrower fungus distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Dung eater Dung eater
Dung eaters feed on waste, either of other species or their own. Those that eat their own, such as rabbits and ringtail possums, do it because it's so hard to extract nourishment from their nutrient-poor diet that digesting it a second time is worthwhile.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


  1. Life
  2. Fungi
  3. Zygomycota
  4. Zygomycetes
  5. Mucorales
  6. Pilobolaceae
  7. Pilobolus
  8. Hat thrower fungus

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