I will do my best to name these Fungi, but in many cases, the names will be approximate, or at best "descriptive". Any assistance with naming would be greatly appreciated. I will give an alphabetical code to assist with re-naming any wrongly named images.
Image A - Pseudocolus fusiformis
This is a form of "Stink Horn" - a gastromycete, which means "stomach fungus" - so named for the fact that they grow out from a kind of "egg" which people thought resembled a stomach. These fungi and their close relatives tend to smell foul, and they do so in order to attract flies to carry their spores away. They are very soft and short-lived. This one was broken in transporting it back to the sorting table, after the walk.
Image B - A Puffball growing on wood. A shrivelled one to the right.
To the left, the star-shaped item is a fallen "seed capsule" from a Coachwood tree above. These seeds litter the ground in autumn in Robertson's cool temperate rainforest. Seedlings coat the ground - each awaiting the death of a tree nearby so it might get a few extra shafts of light, and scramble towards the sky. Judging by the vast number of seedlings, it must be a one in a million chance. But Nature is patient!
Image C - A type of Jelly Fungus - Calocera sp. To me, they look like little white Leeches, but I do tend to be a bit obsessive about Leeches, as you know!
Image D - unknown, but presumably related to the Jelly Fungus (Calocera). I have never seen such a small or fine needle-like structure. I have a feeling this specimen was lost before the SFSG "experts" got to review the day's finds, as I did not see it spread out on the table, after the walk. Hopefully I am wrong, in which case it will eventually get a name. Failing that, one of the Readers of this Blog might be able to assist with a Generic or Family name.Incidentally, as you will realise, the fingers are too fine and too elegant to be mine. They belong to one of the young lady who was on the walk with me, and she found this delightful specimen.
Image E - Talking of fine and elegant, I just love this "Hair Fungus", so named because of the dark, strong stems which are nearly invisible. Marasmius capillaris is as close to an ID"fit" as I can come. Better than the more general Horse-hair Fungus, which has long black fibrous stems which trail around over great distances, unlike my specimen..My specimen is growing out from a dead leaf, as is the one in Wikipedia. It also gathers the name "Pin-wheel Marasmius" from the fine lines in the cap, which you can see in the older specimen, half fallen over (on the right).
Image F - Here is another fine Fungus. Not sure of the type. But it made a very pretty picture, reminscent of an imaginary minature Japanese Garden, complete with seedlings (miniature trees) and the Fungi as Umbrellas. Image G - For a bit of light relief, here is a creature which I have only ever known as a "Flat Worm". I discovered it feeding in some rotten wood in the side of an upright tree stump. A Google Search failed to show any match to what others call "Flat Worms", but I persevered, and found a link to Planarium Worms. Apparently in my photograph, I missed the distinctive bit which is the "hammerhead" shaped head. It is buried in the detritus of the rotting tree. By all accounts, the Planarium Worm would be looking for other tiny creatures to eat. There is no shortage of them in the Robertson Rainforest.
Image I - These are a variant on the theme of Bracket Fungi. They may be juvenile Brackets, I am not sure. In the Robertson Rainforest there is so much dead timber and so much moisture that the idea that Bracket Fungi are large things sticking out the sides of tall Gum Trees is irrelevant. We do "brackets" in all shapes and sizes and all levels of development.
Image H - Back to the Fungi.
The trouble with Fungi experts is that generally they have a hard-enough time working out what they are looking at. When it gets like this, many lose interest. Too small to see with the naked eye.
Image J - I had to save J for this Jelly Fungus. This is not just a bad case of sputum. Frankly it looked like something so disgusting, it would make me rush off to see the Doctor.
The fingernail is there as a scale measure. The hand was holding some bark from a rotten tree branch. I find that fact vaguely reassuring.
Image K - a Cordyceps (or two) in situ - on the forest floor. One is dying and has been invaded by tiny white creatures called "Springtails" (although they do not all look like fleas, as some do). Technically they are called Tetrodontophora. More generally, they are known collectively as "Collembola" and they come in all shapes and sizes, it seems.
All you need to note is the dark colour of the head of the tall Cordyceps gunnii, and how that is all you see sticking up out of the ground.
More will be explained after the next image.
Image L - a cleaned up Cordyceps gunnii specimen. It is approximately 8 inches (20 Cm) long. These things used by known as "Vegetable Caterpillars", but that is an appalling misnomer. There is not now, nor ever was, anything "vegetable" about this Fungus. I have written about their lifecycle previously.
Click on the image to see it properly.In case you are wondering, the odd shaped part of the "Fungus" - the bit on the right - is the mummified corpse of a large wood-boring grub, the larval stage of a Swift Moth - see below. The larvae of the Swift Moth bore into the roots of the Acacia melanoxylon, the Blackwood Wattle, which is one of the dominant trees in the Robertson Nature Reserve. Hence the Cordyceps fungus is a "regular" find here, at this time of year. But interewsting, none the less.
Image M (for Moth). And what a big fat one it is, as well.
We do serious Moths here. This one escaped being mummified by the attack of the Cordyceps fungus. When you see what that fungus can do to an insect, it makes one never want to worry about Tinea again.
These huge Moths love bright lights, and at this time of year, come beating on my new "Laserlite" awnings, with the spotlights I have out there. I only have to run them lights for a few minutes till I get more moths than I wish to photograph. But that is another story!
Image N - This is a classic Bracket Fungus, but I am not sure of the species (or genus). It has a classic "ring" formation, showing the age of the Fungus, which is quite hard, and nearly permanent (unlike many Fungi which are truly ephemeral - such as Slime Moulds (which technically are NOT fungi I now recall) and Ink Caps, which simply "dissolve themselves" down to slush over the length of a day.
Image O - from this white-pored underneath side image, I have been told one can tell that it is not the more common "Beefsteak Bracket Fungus" Stereum sanguinolentum.
The difference is the way in which that other species stains red when touched underneath. Exactly which species it IS, I cannot say. But its pores did not mark red.
Image P - Finally, here is a double clump of Coral Fungi (Ramaria sp) growing out either side of a rotten log on the ground.
And in all these Fungi, there is a not a classic "Mushroom" or Toadstool to be seen.
***************************************************My Blogging Colleague, Martin, has raised the issue of the Fungi being animals or plants (or "other") in the comments.
As the Wikipedia answer is too long for a "comment" I will add it here:
- A fungus (pronounced /ˈfʌŋɡəs/) is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. The Fungi (pronounced /ˈfʌndʒaɪ/ or /ˈfʌŋɡaɪ/) are classified as a kingdom that is separate from plants, animals and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. These and other differences show that the fungi form a single group of related organisms, named the Eumycota (true fungi or Eumycetes), that share a common ancestor (a monophyletic group). This fungal group is distinct from the structurally similar slime molds, (myxomycetes) and water molds (oomycetes). The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology, which is often regarded as a branch of botany, even though genetic studies have shown that fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants.
- extract from Wikipedia - Fungi