The fruit body consists of red arms radiating out from the top of a short white to pinkish stem. When fully expanded, the arms may span up to 15 or so centimetres. On the arms there is a khaki-brown, foul-smelling slime which contains the spores. In general the arms taper a little towards their apices but in rare cases they fork a little. Initially the arms are joined at their apices and at times you will see some weak connecting tissue between the apices of neighbouring arms.
This is a stinkhorn and, like all stinkhorns, starts out like a small, gelatinous egg (perhaps 2-3 cm in length). The 'egg shell' is a dirty whitish membrane that holds the immature fruit body. At maturity the stem expands, breaking the membrane. A remnant of that egg remains around the base of the stem as a cup-like surround (technically a volva). You may have to scrape away some soil or leaf litter to reveal the volva. The smell and the red colour (resembling fresh meat) attract dung-loving or carrion-loving invertebrates which carry the spores further afield.
This species is found on the ground in a wide variety of habitats, both natural and man-made. For example, it appears often enough in Canberra gardens to consider it a common suburban species here.
This species was formerly known as Anthurus archeri.
Aseroe rubra is a similar red-armed stinkhorn of similar size but the spore slime is around the centre and the arms are always forked and usually markedly so.
Clathrus archeri is listed in the following regions:
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MapsAustralian National University Kosciuszko National Park Kowen Escarpment Lake Burley Griffin West Lower Cotter Catchment Namadgi National Park National Arboretum Woodland Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Sth Tablelands Ecosystem Park Tallaganda State Forest
PlacesActon, ACT Belconnen, ACT Captains Flat, NSW Cotter River, ACT Gungahlin, ACT Harolds Cross, NSW Isaacs, ACT Jagungal Wilderness, NSW Kowen, ACT Molonglo Valley, ACT Rendezvous Creek, ACT Yarralumla, ACT