Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The biggest nipples I've ever seen

A fungus foray at The Mens near Petworth in early November produces lots of new species for me as I've done very little with fungi in the past. Inevitably, I only photographed the more attractive or interesting looking ones.

This is the Veiled Oyster Pleurotus dryinus growing out of a rot hole in a Beech.

The White Saddle Helvella crispa - this is what they look like, it isn't a knackered specimen.

Beechmast Candlesnuff Xylaria carpophylla looks like a tiny version of the Candlesnuff Fungus but only grows on Beech mast. The experienced members of the fungus group had rarely seen this species but whether it is rare or just rarely found is difficult to know. This was found by Graeme who was looking for beetles under a log - you can't stop a good entomologist from being distracted!

After the meeting ended, Graeme kindly agreed to show some of us the wax caps and other interesting fungi that he'd recently seen at Ebernoe. I've never previously identified any wax caps, which I guess are the orchids of the fungus world, so I was dead keen to see some.

Golden Waxcap Hygrocybe chlorophana
Meadow Waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis
Parrot Waxcap Hygrocybe psittacina
Scarlet Waxcap Hygrocybe coccinea
And my favourite wax cap of the day:
Pink Waxcap or Ballerina Hygrocybe calyptriformis 
Other interesting species seen included the Orange Grisette Amanita crocea

and the Liberty Cap (or Magic Mushroom) Psilocybe semilanceata. We were looking at some individuals and discussing whether they were this species but weren't convinced as they didn't have much of a 'nipple' on top, some others nearby were much more convincing and provoked the comment which forms the title of this blog.

On foreign birding trips, a 'bird of the day' is often chosen. Having seen the sort of number of new species that I would normally expect only on a foreign birding trip, it seems appropriate to pick a fungus of the day. The Beechmast Candlesnuff and Pink Waxcap were strong contenders but in the end the title is won by the amazing ecology of the Scarlet Caterpillar Club Cordyceps militaris which grows out of a buried moth caterpillar.

No comments:

Post a Comment