Exidia recisa* is one of those species I use to test out field guides. This gelatinous mushroom is exceedingly common, especially after windy and wet weather when the dead twigs it feeds on are blown down from the trees. Conspicuous and interesting, any decent guide to temperate mushrooms should include it. It is one of the few species that can produce spores in the winter: the mushroom can dry up and revive repeatedly, depending on how wet conditions are. This allows the fungus to attempt reproduction at a time when their are few others competing for resources.
*Exuding and cut back
- Current Music:Acid King - Busse Woods
This little fly, about the size of a small mosquito, landed on the kitchen table next to my laptop where I write these things. It was surprisingly tolerant of my attempts to photograph it, staying put as I got very close. It turns out this is a winter cranefly Trichocera* sp., a small relative of the creatures that look like giant mosquitoes. Unlike mosquitoes, winter crane flies do not feed on blood, or anything else for that matter. Their larvae feed in the leaf litter and detritus, but adults fly in the late fall to mate and die.
*This means either "hair horn" or "wax hair."
- Current Music:"Weird Al" Yankovic - Close But No Cigar
These little orange spots are spore-producing regions of a fungus that causes a canker disease of wood. The wood in this case is a root protuberance in the pathway, undoubtedly constantly stepped on and otherwise stressed. The fungus took advantage of the broken and worn wood to grow inside as a weak parasite. The fungus is known as coral spot Nectria cinnabarina*, for the colorful spore-bearing wounds it causes.
*Cinnabar-colored (orange) killer.
- Current Music:Bardo Pond - Green Man
Agawam Massachusetts, 11/21/15
- Current Music:Nirvana - All Apologies
- Current Music:Parliament - Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication
The Longwood Medical Area.
- Current Music:Yarbrough and Peoples - Don't Stop the Music
A spider (probably an Agelenid) takes up residence in the back of our mailbox.
- Current Music:The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - Shoggoths Away
Most mushrooms become unrecognizable once they have released their spores and begun to rot. Bacteria and fungi invade the mushroom and reduce it to a withered husk or a pile of goo. These hemlock reishi mushrooms Ganoderma tsugae* are very durable, and still identifiable by their color and structure, and by the fact that they are growing from dead hemlock trees.
* Shiny skin on hemlock
- Current Music:Jucifer - Seth
Almost identical to the gem-studded puffball, but smoother and with a greater taste for wood, is the pear-shaped puffball Lycoperdon pyriforme*. It's generally found as seen here, in its hundreds on a big fallen tree. These are at peak puffability, with large open pores at the center already discharging spores.
* Pear-shaped wolf fart.
- Current Music:Kyuss - Apothecaries Weight