It's not often I get a text saying "come and see my giant fungus". I'm sure most people would stay well clear but I was there within 30 minutes, and it was well worthwhile.
Eight year old Ellena adds perspective for what turned out to be Phlebopus marginatus (known as the Salmon Gum Mushroom in Western Australia - perhaps meaning they grow under Salmon Gums in W.A.?). Phlebopus marginatus is thought to be Australia's largest mushroom species. They were found by Riddells Creek Landcare member, Julie Macdonald, on her property, growing beneath wattle and gum trees.
This species is supposed to be edible but tastes rather bland, and some references I found suggested great care should be taken because it can contain maggots. On that subject, I did notice some flies acting strangely on top of the mushroom. Eventually, I caught the odd behaviour on camera ...
It all happened very quickly. It looks like they are dancing but everything seemed to suggest they are 'sizing up'. The fly on the right flew off after the confrontation. The prize of being master of this massive mushroom suggests it would be worth fighting for. No matter how close I got to the fly on the left afterwards, it didn't fly off, suggesting nothing was going to make it leave its mushroom.
They have different markings so it could also be male and female in a mating ritual. I haven't been able to ID them yet so I can't find out for certain what is happening.
Here are the actual records on NatureShare:
Since this article was written there has been an update on the 'Dancing Flies':