Readers’ wildlife photos

September 12, 2022 • 8:00 am

Today’s photos are of fungi (one is actually a protist), and come from reader Leo Glenn (there’s also a moggy for lagniappe). Leo’s captions and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

I’m responding to your call for wildlife photos. Here is a selection of fungi, a weather photo, and an obligatory moggy.

A group of Shaggy Parasol mushrooms (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) growing in a pile of dung. Perhaps your readers can guess the species responsible for such a prodigious pile of poo (hint: it’s appropriately alliterative). The answer is the North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum). This photo was taken at the entrance to its den.

A first-time find for me, as it is a relatively uncommon mushroom here in the Pennsylvania woods. The Slender Roundhead (Leratiomyces squamosus). A synonym for this species is Psilocybe squamosa, and it is included in Paul Stamets’ book, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, though its active psilocybin content is thought to be negligible.

Speaking of Paul Stamets, here are a couple specimens of Tinder Fungus, also called Tinder Conk and Hoof Fungus (Fomes fomentarius). In addition to having been used by many cultures for thousands of years as tinder to start fires, it can also be made into faux leather, which can then be shaped into various things, including hats. Stamets, the famous mycologist, has a hat made from the fibers of this fungus that he can be seen wearing at most of his public appearances. It is also known as the Ice Man Fungus because it was one of two species of fungus (the other being Birch Polypore, Piptoporus betulinus) found on Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old natural mummy discovered in 1991 in the Alps on the border between Austria and Italy.

My son, fascinated that a mushroom could both be used as tinder and fashioned into faux leather, experimented on some (by pounding on it with a mallet for half an hour), and found that it did indeed come to resemble leather both in feel and appearance.

Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces strobilaceus), among some club mosses, the taller of which I believe is Princess Pine (Dendrolycopodium obscurum). I’m not sure of the shorter one, other than that it is probably one of the bristly club mosses.

Chocolate Tube Slime Mold (Stemonitis splendens). Slime molds were formerly classified as fungi, though they are now placed within the kingdom Protista.

Technically not a wildlife photo, as these are some that I cultivated. These are young Nameko mushrooms (Pholiota microspora). They are a staple in miso and other soups and stews in Japan, but virtually impossible to find fresh here in the United States, unless you grow your own.

I remember a while back you posted some photos of mammatus clouds. This was taken in front of our house this past spring.

I felt obliged to include a moggy. This is my daughter’s cat, Miso, whom we nicknamed the Luxury Model, for reasons which I imagine are obvious. (My son’s cat is nicknamed the Stealth Model.)


7 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Thanks for the lovely funghi photos. In high school biology in the early 1960’s, I was taught that these were classified as plants. It was only a few years ago, I learned, while reading Dawkins’ “The Ancestor’s Tale” that despite their growing in the ground and on logs, they are genetically closer to the animal than the plant branch of the phylogenetic tree. Still so much to learn.

  2. These are terrific- you seem like a fun guy! (I’ll be here all ze veek.) The info. on the tinder fungus is fascinating.
    Love the cat name, very fitting.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *