A macro image of pink fungi.

Marasmius. All images © Danny Newman, shared with permission

Scientists believe that less than 4% percent of the world’s fungi have been documented, which adds up to only 150,000 species described out of an estimated 2.2-3.8 million worldwide. Mycologists Danny Newman and Roo Vandegrift have spent the last 12 years focusing on locations impacted by the climate crisis and increasing human interference, like Ecuador’s Reserva Los Cedros. Their stunning photographs (previously) capture the vibrant hues, delicate gills, and thin stems of a vast range of fungi in the mountainous cloud forest.

In 2016, the Ecuadorian government declared the Los Cedros reserve—one of the last unlogged watersheds on the western slope of the Andes—open for mining, putting countless flora, fauna, and funga at risk. “In a stunning legal upset, the mining concessions which threatened to turn Los Cedros into a toxic, barren wasteland were rescinded by the Ecuadorian supreme court, who specifically cited…our fungal diversity research in their ruling,” Newman says.

Spanning six expeditions, the duo, with a team of scientists from both Ecuador and the USA, recently published an in-depth survey of their findings, cataloguing a wealth of previously unknown species and providing what Newman calls “one of the most comprehensive contributions to Ecuadorian mycology in the country’s history.” Vandegrift is also the producer of a visually stunning upcoming documentary titled Marrow of the Mountainfilmed in part during an expedition in 2018 and 2019. 

Explore more images and descriptions on iNaturalist and both Newman and Vandegrift’s Instagrams.


A macro image of yellow slime mold.

Aurapex penicilliata

A macro image of a porous, white fungi.


Two macro photos of the gills of a bright red-orange fungi.


A macro image of a black fungi with tiny yellow nodules.

Fibulostilbum phylaciicola

A macro image of a yellow mushroom.


A macro image of pink, slime-like fungi.


A macro image of orange fungi with delicate yellow spikes.


A macro image of a tiny yellow fungi.


A macro image of the underside of a tiny yellow fungi.


A macro image of a tiny white fungi.


Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article In an Ecuadorian Cloud Forest, Two Mycologists Catalogue Hundreds of Fantastical Fungi appeared first on Colossal.