Without fungi, our forests, woodlands and grasslands would not exist. Fungi are decomposers and as they decompose the organic waste they release vital elements such as nitrogen and phosphorous to the ecosystem for plants to use. All plants require large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous to build their cells and to facilitate photosynthesis.
Another role of fungi is to act as host for particular insects. The fungi-insect symbiosis is not fully understood but many insects seem to rely on fungi for their survival.
At the Uralla Nature Reserve recently, I came across this big old bolete, Sutorius australiensis probably. The fertile surface under the cap is made up of pores rather than gills.
A little further down the hill I found the same mushroom in an advanced state of decay. The cap was scarred with several holes where something had crawled in, (or out).
I broke off a piece and discovered the presence of numerable larvae of some unknown insect. (Any entomologists out there might be able to enlighten me on what species they are.)
Another reason to admire the humble mushroom.