November 29th, 2015

dandelion

280 days of Urbpandemonium #210

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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.
dandelion

280 days of Urbpandemonium #211

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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."
dandelion

280 days of Urbpandemonium #212

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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