Monday, October 9, 2017

Insect Notes

A few noteworthy observations of select insect populations since May 2017

Chestnut-marked Pondweed Moth - Parapoynx badiusalis
Perhaps my favorite obscure, little moth.  The Chestnut-marked Pondweed Moth has aquatic caterpillars and is often quite abundant at Westwood Hills Nature Center in the middle of the summer.  This summer I didn't see any.  I've observed occasional population lows over the 18 summers I've been at Westwood, but never a complete absence.

Common Baskettail - Epitheca cynosura
This dragonfly usually emerges en masse in late May at Westwood over the course of one or two days.  This year not a single one appeared.

Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes
Each year a few of these more southern butterflies stray up into Minnesota.  This was the first year to my knowledge that this species has been observed at Westwood.  One individual was observed laying eggs on Prickly Ash in September.

Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui
This migratory butterfly was abundant in parts of Minnesota this fall and elsewhere in the US. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mushroom Log - Late August 2017

Laccaria ochropurpurea
Though this mushroom does show some variation in color, the differences in coloration in these photos is probably more due to differences in the lighting.

Mycena semivestipes
 Bleach-like odor, growing on a well decayed log.

Marasmius siccus
This small mushroom decomposes hardwood debris.

Suillus americanus
 Growing under white pines.  Note the brown coloration that occurs when the mushroom is "bruised".
Amanita sp.
A. vaginata or one of it's many look a likes.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mushroom Log - Late August 2017

All the mushrooms featured in this post were found in white pine stands at Afton State Park.

Lactarius indigo
I think all mushrooms are pretty cool, even LBMs.  But a big blue mushrooms is really cool!

Laccaria sp.
 Possibly L. laccata or similar species, of which there are a few.

Inocybe sp.

Possibly I. geophylla.

The two species pictured just above were everywhere in one patch of white pines.  I think it's interesting how both species are so highly variable in appearance, especially as they dry out and more or less blend together to the casual observer.

Trichloma sp.
 Possibly T. myomyces based on it's overall appearance, small size, and habitat.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mushroom Log - Late August 2017

Suillus subaureus
I found these growing under a small white pine next to the parking lot of a Little Caeser's.  Features that led me to this identification include: habitat, large size, overall orange to brown color, yellow flesh, and the dark dots on the stem (which are called glandular dots).  There's speculation that this mushroom has shifted its habitat preferences from strictly white pine to aspen and other trees as white pines were logged in the 18th century.  I wonder if the mushroom photographed has "switched" back to white pine that are planted in landscaping.  Or maybe as species it's always had fairly catholic habitat preferences and the observed change from white pine to other trees just reflects changes in vegetation (not sure if I explained that thought well, but I'm in a rush).

And by the way, I had forgotten my wallet, so I couldn't get any pizza!

Chlorophyllum molybdites
Growing in lawns in my NE Minneapolis neighborhood.  Collected by my daughter, Adele.  Note the greenish gills in the lower center photograph, this is key in seperating this species from the very similar C. rhacodes.  Also note that C. molybdites is poisonous/

Tubaria furfuracea
Unknown mushroom

These mushrooms were growing near and among the above.  I didn't take really good notes, but the variable cap color (changing as it dries), fragile stem, and a dark spore point to a species of Psathyrella.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mushroom Log - Mid August 2017

Simocybe centunculus
A wood growing LBM with a granular sort of texture to give it some distinction.

Bolbittius reticulatus
It features a slimy cap.

Coprinellus disseminatus
The mushrooms in these photos inhabit a well-rotted stump.  I think I first noticed these mushrooms about fifteen years ago, when instead of a stump, they inhabited a rotten spot at the base of a basswood (if memory serves me correct).  We're sort of friends at this point.
 Mycena haematopus

Trichaptum biforme

 Xeromphalina kauffmanii

Unknown Mushrooms
Light brown spore print, growing in loose cluster along the edge of a trail that followed the edge of a deciduous woods.  Tough, especially the stem.  The stem also showed some slight granular texture.  Maybe Pholiota terrestrias, but most sources describe that species as more scaly.