Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Kindly wish me happy 700th posting, please. Thanks for following along for the ride. If it were not for the feedback from the readers, this would not be worth doing.

Last week I took Lena for one of her occasional visits to Mr Darcy. In fact I was visiting my friends Lyndon and Maria, but don't tell Lena that.

The grass was almost unbelievably bright green in the morning light. But the colour is real. Lena loves a romp around on this field of neatly trimmed grass, and checking out the sniffs from the resident Goat, the local Wombats and Wallabies, and occasional Rabbits.
Mr Darcy is very ornamental, statuesque one could say. He is suitably handsome, as any Jane Austen fan would agree. Colin Firth fans - eat your hearts out!
The dogs, Lena and her friend Mr Darcy were not shy. They never are.

And from the sublime to the mundane, I noticed a small, dull, but beautifully shaped fungus growing from a dry piece of wood, at Lyndon and Maria's house. A perfect parasol shape.
Underneath this little brown parasol is a startlingly beautiful structure of widely spaced gills. These gills are interesting in that they alternate between complete gills (going from the stem to the cap), and short, incomplete gills. The gills are also relatively widely spaced, compared to the more familiar "field mushrooms" which many people consume regularly, purchased from Greengrocers (or supermarkets - if you have forgotten that "Greengrocers" still exist).

I have not been able to track down what this fungus is, but it bears some resemblances to this Mycena stipata (from an European website).
Any advice would be welcomed, folks.

And, as with everything I like to do in this Blog, there is a tiny surprise waiting for you. Yes a minute insect (or an "arthropod" if you prefer). I have no idea what class, or order of creature this tiny creature is. I wondered if it might be a "proturan". I do not know. I certainly would welcome any advice from fellow bloggers. If you scroll back up to the image two above, you may now notice this creature, wandering around inside the gills of the fungus, on the top left side.
All I can make out for sure is that it has several dark grey protrusions which I assume are antennae, (on the far right hand side) and what appears to be two pairs of legs towards the front of the body, and other tiny feet, or other structures, but I cannot count how many pairs of legs this little creature has. As often happens, I was not even aware that this creature was present, until I developed the photograph. I might have checked its fine details with a 10x magnifying glass, otherwise.

Distressingly, an extended search of the Internet tonight brought little joy in trying to work out what "insects" (for want of a better word) live within fungi. I have seen these creatures before (several times), but I cannot not track down what they are. The fungi people concentrate on the types of fungi, but it seems that they seldom stray into discussing whatever creatures live on and within fungi. Apart from "Springtails", (Collembola), I have found little mention of creatures which feed on fungi. But they appear not to have a larval stage, and adults have a different body shape to this, with 6 body segments. This creature seems to have more segments than that.

As I have indicated, any help would be welcomed in identifying (above), and also the type of fungus the tiny little creature for which this little fungus is its entire "world".


Mosura said...

700 posts - you've been busy!

An interesting beastie on that fungus. It's amazing how often a photo shows us what we missed.

There are fungivorous springtails. Also, springtails have "up to" six abdominal segments but they also have three thoracic segments and a head. So, a maximum of 9 segments and a head.

There are also many moth and beetles larvae which feed on fungi. Yours is obviously not a caterpillar but a beetle may be another possibility..

The book"Australian Beetles by Lawrence and Britton has about a page or so on fungivorous beetles. Some graze on the spore surfaces, others bore into stems, and yet others prey on other fungivores. The two main families containing fungivorous beetles are Cucujoidea and Tenebrionidae.

Hope that helps in some way.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura
Thanks for that.
I don't think it is a "Springtail" because of the shape. The ones I have seen are like land fleas, and the references say they do not metamorphose, so there is no "larval" stage. I very much doubt it is a beetle, as they have a larval stage which is very different to this, and their "grubs" tend to have heavy chewing mouth parts, which this one does not have.
Thanks for the detailed info on Springtails, though.

One day I will meet someone who knows this kind of stuff.

Mosura said...

I have no idea what it is, however, I wouldn't make a judgment on it's mouth parts based on that photo. Details tend to merge together in shots like that. Mind you I'm not wearing my glasses :-)

As for springtails, they are not all the typical flea shape you describe. For example:

Tetrodontophora (Click Here)

An interesting little thing whatever it is.



Miss Eagle said...

Sorry, I haven't a clue about the wildlife - but I have been here for most of the 700 posts. At least I figure I musta bin! Anyway, congratulations. The pictures of Lena were lovely. Wonder if she knows how gorgeous Mr Darcy looks - or does she just go for his aroma?

Blessings and bliss

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Miss eagle.
Indeed you have been there for most of the 700. Thanks.
I don't know if Lena knows how good Mr Darcy looks, but, as in his name-sake, HE certainly does.
Lena definitely enjoys a visit with Darcy. She is noticeably happy when there, running around on that beautiful grass.
Best wishes.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura
I am sure now, having looked at your linked photo of Tetrodontophora that you are on the money (and I was a close - with the Order - Collembola).
I had been to the Tree of Life Website, but your link took me to the images section which I had not found before.
Very useful stuff.
Thanks for your help.
Class A detective work.
Next time you are looking at fungi you have the chance to test your luck, and look for your own Tetrodontophora.

Mosura said...

Excellent! I'll have to keep an eye out for something similar.

Anonymous said...

I've jumped over from Mosura's site. Congratulations on your 700th post, that's quite an achievement!

Denis Wilson said...

Normally I would reject an anonymous comment, but this is a post from the blogger behind Bird Anonymous
Welcome, and thanks for the congratulations.