Thursday, August 30, 2012

Recent Mushrooms - Mid to Late August 2012

White Dunce Cap - Conocybe albipes

Bear's Head Tooth - Hericium coralloides

Shaggy Mane - Coprinus comatus

Black Leg - Polyporus badius

Gymnopilus sp.

Unknown Mushroom

Resembles a Mycena.

Really Unknown

Growing from a cut stump (Elm if remember right).  I assume they are a fungus of some kind.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recent Mushrooms - Early to Mid August 2012

Prince - Agaricus augustus

A robust, brown and scaly Agaricus.  They were growing in some wood chips under two big Norway Pines down the block.  I was up very early one morning, so I snuck into their yard to pick a few (I had been coveting my neighbor's mushrooms).
A slow, yellowish to reddish bruising in the flesh.  A definite almond-like smell.
Thick, cottony veil over the gills.
Gills started out very light and pinkish, that slowly turned dark brown.
The stalk scaly for most of its length, becoming smooth at the very top.  Typically, these mushrooms would form a skirt-like ring around the stalk, but in this case the veil stuck to the caps edges instead of forming a ring.  Hmm . . .

Ash Tree Bolete - Gyrodon meruliodes

A distinctive bolete with a off center stalk.
I think it should be called the Flying Saucer Bolete.

Platterful Mushroom - Megacollybia rodmani

I'm fairly certain on the id of this mushroom, but it is a fairly nondescript mushroom; brownish cap, white gills, whitish stem, and white spore print.  One feature that doesn't match is that this mushroom grows from rotten wood.  The mushroom pictured appears to be growing from the ground, or from the bass of a (live) oak tree.  But the rotten wood could be buried, and in this case it could be a rotted root of this tree (perhaps caused by a species of Armillaria, or honey mushroom, common where I found this mushroom).
I think the common name, Platterful Mushroom, is derived from the its scientific name, Tricholomopsis platyphylla.  It is edible, but like I said, pretty nondescript, making id a little iffy.

Fuzzy Foot - Xeromphalina sp.

Small Funnel-veil Amanita - Amanita multisquamosa

A smallish, slender Amanita that grows under hardwoods.
White cap with a yellowish or brownish center, white warts, and faint lines along the margin.
White stem with a skirt-like ring (or small funnel-like), smooth above, a bit scaly below.  The "cup" is bulb shaped with a collar.

Unknown Mushroom

My semi-obligatory "Recent Mushroom" post LBM.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chanterelles for Breakfast

Last weekend I went on a short hike with my parents before breakfast.  We found a few chanterelles and decided to have them for breakfast, which ended up being a Chanterelle, Tomato, and Cheese Frittata.
Here's the "recipe" from the cookbook in my head, with input from my parents and sister.  It served four.

10 eggs, scrambled
2 cups (or so) of chanterelles, coarsely chopped
2 cups (give or take) of cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters (ours were from our garden)
2 cups (minus what I snacked on) of medium cheddar cheese, grated
1-2 tablespoons of butter

First I sauteed the chanterelles with the butter and a tiny bit of salt for a few minutes in a cast iron skillet.  When done, I removed them and set them aside, leaving the butter in the pan.  Then I poured the scrambled eggs into the skillet.  I just let the eggs sit and cook, once or twice going around the edges of the pan with a spatula.  When they were about 90% cooked, with just some uncooked egg on top, I put in the chanterelles, tomatoes, and cheese on top.  Then the whole pan was put into the broiler for a minute or two, just enough to melt the cheese (oh yeah, preheat the oven so it's hot when you get to this part.  Remove from oven, cut like a pizza and serve while hot.

Lichens on Gravestones - Ripley Cemetery, Litchfield, MN

Yesterday I had a chance to walk along Lake Ripley in Litchfield with a couple of friends.  Across the road on the north side of the lake is Ripley Cemetery.
There was quite a mix of gravestones in terms of age, material, and style, which made for some good lichen observing.

I think these orange lichens are Elegant Sunburst Lichens, Xanthoria elegans.
I'm really not sure what the black stuff is; it's not that uncommon to find on gravestones.  I'm not even sure if it's a lichen.  I suppose it could be algae or fungus.  Or it could be the dried up or dead remains of any of the three.
I think the orange dots are Sidewalk Firedot Lichens, Caloplaca feracissima.  I think the big crustose lichen in the middle is Golden Moonglow Lichen, Dimelaena oreina.  It's color is more of sea green, that I can never capture adequately with a digital camera.

I love the colors, textures and patterns of the lichens on the the more uniform and ordered gravestone surfaces.  And we were there at sunset, and the graveyard is oriented so that the setting sun illuminated the face of most of the gravestones.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An Illustrated Glossary of Insect Sounds

The complete title is "An Illustrated and Random Glossary of the Sounds of Minnesota's Insects (That I Know Of)".  I make no effort to be thorough; this is just some information I've come across over the years regarding insect sounds.


Crepitation is the term used to describe the snapping sound produce by the wings of certain grasshopper species when they fly.


Or buzz pollination.  Bumblebees and certain solitary bees move their wings rapidly while on a flower, causing the anthers to vibrate and dislodging the pollen.  Apparently honey bees rarely sonicate.


Katydids, crickets, and some grasshoppers stridulate.  Sound is produced by rubbing two body parts together.  In katydids and crickets, the sound is produced by rubbing the base of the wings together, which have specialized structures for producing sound (a "scrapper" that rubs against a "file").  The grasshoppers that stridulate, do so by rubbing their hind legs against the edges of their forewings (the picture is directly borrowoed from the cover"The Songs of Insects" by Lang Elliot and Wil Hershberger, which is a great resource concerning insect sounds).

Ultrasonic Clicks

Some Tiger Moths respond to a bat's echolocation by emitting clicks that are mostly outside the range of human hearing.  The clicks are emitted from tymbals located on the thorax.  The clicks are a defensive response to detecting the bat's echolocation cries.  But how the clicks help protect the moth isn't exactly known.  The clicks might startle the bats, giving the moth a chance to escape; the clicks might serve to jam or disrupt the bat's echolocation signal; or the clicks might advertise the moth's distastefulness.

Stonefly Drumming
Stoneflies attract mates by tapping, or drumming, their abdomen against the ground.  The sound waves travel through the ground, and are inaudible to us.  Which is fitting, stoneflies are secretive and rarely seen, so it's in keeping with their character.

There's a lot more I could include.  One noticeable omission from this post are cicadas, whose calls are  the inspiration for this post.  


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Recent Mushrooms - Early August 2012

Small Funnel-veil Amanita - Amanita multisquamosa

American Yellow Dust Amanita - Amanita flavoconia

Cinnabar-red Chanterelle - Cantharellus cinnabarinus

Velvet-footed Pax - Paxillus atrotomentosus

Old Man of the Woods - Strobilomyces floccopus

Russula sp.

Lactarius sp.

 Unknown Coral Fungus