Could an animal extract fungi and store them alive, as shrews and moles do with their prey? Some problems could be that fungi have less energy than meat, and that they are easier to find due to being sessile. But, fungi might still be hard to come across, potentially justifying this strategy

  • $\begingroup$ It's probably worth mentioning that mushrooms are only a small part of a fungus. Mushrooms are called "fruiting bodies" - their purpose is to distribute spores. The main part of a fungus is called the mycelium, which is network of fine threads that typically grows under the soil and can spread over a large area. You can keep the mycelium alive, but a mushroom is really just one organ and you can't keep it alive on its own for long without the rest of the fungus, i.e. the mycelium. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Aug 8, 2021 at 9:08

2 Answers 2


The mushroom portion, i.e. the fruiting body, can be collected and preserved. Some can be stored as is like apples if the temperature and humidity is correct (chanterlle) Easiest is drying. Some mushrooms dehydrate rather well concentrating the flavour (morel and bolete) and even gain some nutrients by drying --for example vitamin D. Many species of mushroom (again the fruit, not the fungus itself) exposed to direct sunlight while drying will build vitamin D similar to how our skin does.


Leafcutter ants do this.

leafcutter ant nest

Or did this. Now they bring home food for the fungus that their ancestors brought home millions of years ago, and they eat the fungus.


Ants learned to farm 50 million years ago, way before humans did. Their crop of choice? Fungus. Meet the leaf-cutter ant. These ants carve out pieces of leaves and carry them back home. But the ants don’t eat the leaves themselves—they feed it to Lepiotaceae fungus they cultivate in their nests. The fungus breaks down plant polymers that the ant digestive enzymes can’t, making the plants nutritionally available to the ant hosts when the ants eat the farmed fungus...

It is similar to what we do with livestock - feed them food we cant eat like hay, then eat them or drink their milk. If you brought home a live fungus you could keep it alive by bringing it fungus food - worthless to you but capable of being transformed into delicious fungus meat.


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