Thursday, 5 November 2009

Drumboe fungi

At the Drumboe car park, I noticed some Honey Fungus - Armillaria mellea - on an old stump:

A close inspection revealed a very small (4mm) Ichneumonid exploring the older specimens:

This is no surprise, since most fungi are eaten by fly larvae, and a quick inspection revealed the target:

This parasitisation of fly larvae in mushrooms reveals a stunning synchronisation of the 3 species: the fly larvae are only present for a short time each year - during the fungal season - and each mushroom specimen will only last for a small number of days. Meanwhile, the fly larvae must grow from egg to pupation very quickly (showing that fungi must be an excellent food source), so the Ichneumonid has only a very short window of opportunity to find a suitable larva and lay her eggs.

Honey Fungus is known to be an aggressive decomposer of dead wood, and its presence is often revealed by the presence of black 'bootlaces' on old stumps:

One of my favourite fungi is the minute Marasmius hudsonii, which only grows on old, black, Holly leaves:

Despite the fact that the whole fungus is only perhaps 20mm tall, microscopic examination of the tiny cap shows that it is covered in spikes:

I cannot fathom any reason for a minute fungal cap to be ornamented in this way. (Notice that the stipe also has spines).

A single specimen of Wood Blewitt - Lepista nuda - shone purple through the orange Beech leaves:
Edible, but I don't like the over-perfumed taste.