Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Crickets and Fungi of the rotten logs of Robertson.

Here is a large Cricket with thick legs. All I can work out is that there is a creature called a "Thick-legged Raspy Cricket", but I can find no images of it, nor any details of where it comes from, what it does, etc. This one was a bit scary, for I know that Crickets like this have huge mandibles (chewing jaws). Its legs were very spiny. In general shape it resembles the Illawarra Raspy Cricket which I have shown before, but this one was bigger and wilder looking, with its powerful orange thighs.

Thanks to Dave Rentz, retired CSIRO entomologist, and Blogger from Kuranda in Queensland, I now know that this wonderful creature is an "Australian King Cricket" Australostoma opacum (Brunner). Dave told me what I had already surmised that these guys can give a nasty bite (remember I had seen their "cousins" up close previously). Also they can exude a nasty cocktail of pungent chemicals from their posterior, as part of a defence mechanism. For me, the entire appearance and build of the creature gave me enough warning signals to know to be wary of it, anyway.

This is a fine example of "Icicle Fungi" hanging on the rotten log.These Olive Cups looked to me like a form of Lichen, at first.
But then I realised that in their smaller stages, they looked like a form of Cup Fungus.
Note the tiny one on the right - that stem looks like a classic Cup FungusThis I have seen before, and it is known as a "Pretzel Fungus".
These tiny stemless fungi were hanging from the underside of a rotting log.
From below you can see that they are a form of Gilled Fungus.
This small, but perfectly formed gilled fungus, showing an "annulus" ring on the stem.
It is possibly a Hygrocybe, but that is a wild guess on my part.
It cap was only about the size of a 10 cent coin.
These near perfect tiny Fungi were growing as a pair on the rotten log.
Note the myriad white fibres growing from the base of the stem.
Here is the inside view of the cap of another one of these fungi
which was accidentally broken.
You can see the long white gills.This was a lovely clump of lilac-mauve small Fungi
growing out of rotted wood fibres at the base of a fallen tree trunk.From the underside, you can see the white gills of these pretty lilac fungi.Here is a single "Puff Ball" which we found while on our Millipede Search.


David said...

Hi Denis,

How I miss the fungi of the Robertson area!
So many varied shapes and forms...seems that the recent damp weather has been kind.
Very nice photography!
I remember shooting some "Icicle Fungi" on one of our trips to the reserve one April.
I would be interested to know If you have encountered any more parasitic fungi. Does that occur at the same time/conditions?


Denis Wilson said...

Hi David
You had me going there, for a second, for in a sense all Fungi are parasitic on something. That might not be totally accurate, but they are all living off something, even if it is already dead, such as these fungi living off dead wood, (rotten logs).
But I realise you are probably talking about the "Cordyceps" - the so-called "Vegetable Caterpillars".
I have not published any recently, but I did see one last week when out with Bob Mesibov.
They seem to occur in dark, wet patches of forest, preferably where large Acacias are growing as the caterpillars they infest and take over (mummify) are the large moths caterpillars whcih live off the roots of Wattles. Here the favourite host plant is the large-growing Blackwood Wattle. But you might have another suitable Wattle in your area.
I have no idea if they would be found in sandy soil, though.
Generally, March to May seems to be their "season", at least for the local species.
There are different species, so you might find other species, not necessarily the large dark green ones.
Checking the links to "Fungimap" on my blog side bar - under "Fungi reference sites", it seems Cordyceps gunni is likely to be the main species in your area and mine.