Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Good Day for Denizens of the Damp?

Seems like it's been raining for days, now.  If I could walk, I'd be running out to the woods to look for fungi and slime molds of all kinds, since this is the kind of weather they like best.  We haven't had a good fruiting season for these denizens of the damp for a couple of years, so I looked back to  mid-June of 2013 to see what was fruiting about that time, after a prolonged period of rain.  Oh boy, look what I found on just one day in just one woods!  Such amazing colors and textures!

I guess it's obvious how the Red-banded Polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola) got its common name!

The Lacquered Polypore (Ganoderma lucidum) is shiny even when it's not wet.  These are just emerging from a fallen hardwood truck.

These snowy-white Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) look good enough to eat.  And they are!

The bright-orange Mycena leaiana is almost always found in tight clusters like this.

When I first saw this, I assumed it was a Tapioca Slime Mold, but a more knowledgable companion informed me it was more likely an Amoebozoa, which behaves like a slime mold, oozing along the forest floor until something prompts it to form fruiting bodies.  Which it is doing here.  It does look like tapioca, though, doesn't it?

This next one IS a slime mold, however:  Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa, in one of its two varieties, var. fruticulosa.    This variety forms tiny white columns only a few millimeters tall, while its other variety (C. fruticulosa var. porioides), pictured next, forms fruit bodies that are dome-shaped, honeycombed, and up to one centimeter across.

Slime molds are fascinating organisms, not fitting easily into our standard classification system.  In some ways, they behave like animals, moving and feeding independently, engulfing all kinds of organic particles in their paths, digesting what they can and ejecting what they don't want.  But then they also behave like fungi, planting themselves to produce fruit bodies containing spores that will be dispersed by the wind.  The forms these fruit bodies assume are amazingly varied in shape and color, including the shapes and colors of those in the next two photos.  I couldn't identify these as to species, but I sure could marvel at their fascinating appearance.

And of course, if it's wet enough for fungi and slime molds,  it's wet enough for Red-backed Salamanders, too!

So if you can, get out to the woods and let me know what you find!


The Furry Gnome said...

Great selection of fungi! So sorry you are stuck with pictures from the past!

threecollie said...

Creepy and yet beautiful. Except for the salamander. That is just plain beautiful!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Oh Furry, what would we do without our pictures from the past to remind us so vividly of what we love? I have been looking at your blog and marveling at the photos your son Will left you after his death, and my heart goes out to you in your terrible loss. My injury will be only a distant memory in time, but your loss will never be over. May love surround you and help you through your grief.

Thanks, threecollie, for stopping by. I wonder if we would find slim molds less creepy if we called them by a different name. They certainly can be beautiful, and what fascinating creatures they are!

Anonymous said...

The photo of the polypore was stunning -- organic sculpture, so sensual. Thank you for sharing these pictures, even when injured!