INKCAPS AND BIRD NESTS

in FungiFriday2 months ago

When I reached the woods in the area between the town of Zmminj and the village called Pichan on the 12th of September 2022, things didn't look promising. I was there to get some mushrooms or any other kind of fungi for HIVE but the place looked completely devoid of what I was searching for. Well, at first sight at least. It took me half an hour or so to find the protagonists of this post, and although far from being big or colorful, their unique shape makes them quite memorable.

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In this opening picture made of four photographs, you can see most of the cool things that I found on that occasion. The bird nests. The inkcaps. And some lovely autumnal flowers.

Here you can see the early stage of the bird nest fungi development. I mean their fruiting body development. As these fruiting bodies grow ...

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... they start to look like little hand drums. I don't know for you, but for me, the hand drum is always the first thought when I see these furry things covered with white membranes.
The day was cloudy and the light was pretty low under the oak trees, so I took most of the photographs with the flash of my camera turned on. It was easier that way.

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Things didn't look much better in the subdued ambient light, but I always like to convey the real atmosphere, so I took the time to get some long exposure shots as well. Here you can see one of those. As the " fungi bongos" further develop, the membranes dissolve ...

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... and the fruiting bodies end up looking like minuscule bird nests with some eggs on their bottom.

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The name of this particular bird nest species is Cyathus striatus and this is my contribution to FungiFriday by @ewkaw

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These fruiting bodies are small and hard to notice among the rotting twigs and fallen leaves. When I first saw them, from a distance, I dismissed them as some kind of seeds. I was there for fungal stuff, and those small things scattered across the forest floor didn't look like something that could interest me.

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The first thing that caught my attention when I left the car, crossed the street, and entered the forest, were flowers.

The Colchicum autumnale flowers. Now, this may feel like a contradiction after the prior statement that I was there for fungi, but that's the truth. The flowers looked cool so I forgot the mushrooms for a moment and stopped to take a couple of shots.

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I used the macro lens for this photograph, so you can take a good, up-close look at the details of the flower's anatomy.

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Inkcaps were the first mushrooms I encountered that day. These are the Parasola auricoma inkcaps. They are very common here, I see them very often so I wasn't very excited about this first finding, but ...

... but soon I found a mushroom of the same species with a very peculiar cap.

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When seen from above, it looked like some kind of flower. A pretty strange little flower.

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Like in most inkcaps, the Parasola auricoma fruiting bodies don't last long. The cap decays first and in that process, its shape gets deformed before drying - out completely. I saw many deformed caps, but none of those deformations were elegant like the one shown in these three photographs. In many inkcap species, the caps dissolve into a black liquid, but Parasola auricoma is a slightly different inkcap. After taking this shot, while still sitting on the leaf litter near the fragile mushroom ...

... I finally recognized the bird nests all around me. While I was walking, they were too far from my eyes.

Cyathus striatus is a saprobic fungus that derives its nutrition from decaying organic material. The fruiting bodies usually grow in clusters on small twigs or other woody debris. The bird nest shown in this photograph looks like a solitary one, but all around it, only a dozen of centimeters in all directions ...

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... I saw many of them in various stages of development.

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The things that resemble eggs inside the nest or seeds in a cup are called peridioles. The spores are produced inside them. Since they carry spores, they function like some kind of seeds.

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Peridioles are firmly attached to the inner surface of the nest by an elastic cord of mycelia known as a funiculus.
When a raindrop hits the interior of the cup with the optimal angle and velocity, the force of the water ejects the peridioles into the air. The force of ejection unpacks the funiculus, releasing the tightly wound funicular cord. The part attached to the end of the funiculus is adhesive, and when it comes in contact with a stem of a nearby plant or a dried-out, rotting twig, that sticky part gets attached to it. The funicular cord wraps around the stem or stick powered by the force of the still-moving peridiole (similar to a tetherball). The peridioles degrade over time to eventually release the spores within. They may also be eaten by herbivorous animals and redeposited after passing through the digestive tract.

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On the nearby Ruscus aculeatus plant surrounded by bird nests, I photographed a fly.

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A small fly from the Lauxaniidae family.

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The name of the species is Minettia fasciata. Ten or twelve meters from there ...

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... I came across another Parasola auricoma mushroom.

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This bent fruiting body looked as if it was frozen in movement while bowing in front of an audience. A meter or two from there ...

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... I photographed another fly.

This small Hybos culiciformis, a species from the Hybotidae family, was feeding on some minuscule insect. Probably another, even smaller fly. After photographing the fly with its prey, while sitting in the same place ...

... I noticed this lovely bird nest enveloped with the fallen leaf.

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A bit later and twenty - thirty meters further, I photographed another group of Cyathus striatus fruiting bodies.

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In one of those bird nests, I found a small Clausiliidae snail with an elongated shell.

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On the way out of the forest, I stopped to photograph another Colchicum autumnale flower. Ten minutes later I was driving back home.

Before ending the post and organizing the links to written sources that I used to get some information about fungi and insects in the post, I'll put a different kind of link here.
https://ecency.com/hive-101587/@borjan/drought-and-flies-in-the
The link above will take you to one of my older posts that shows the same area of the same forest but during the hot and dry conditions in August of this year. I think that comparing the two stories could be interesting 🙂 so you can do it if you wish.

The following links will take you to the sites with more information about the protagonists of this post. I found some stuff about them there.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyathus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyathus_striatus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausiliidae
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colchicum_autumnale
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasola_auricoma
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minettia_fasciata
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybos_culiciformis

AND THAT'S IT. AS ALWAYS HERE ON HIVE, THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE MY WORK - THE END.

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A very nice post, well I usually say the same thing but that's what I feel, your posts are interesting because we learn about insects and in this one also fungi.
A hug and happy weekend, hey excellent photos, I say the same thing again :) today I don't have much inspiration you can tell right :)

There's nothing wrong with being uninspired sometimes :)

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This is a cool mushroom, my friend, and I also saw the mushroom nest that you shared, I like it.
You also take cool insect pictures.

Excelente post 👌

I so love the mushrooms that seemed like a rare flower. All your photos are great. You are so amazing my friend. What a great photography. Have a beautiful day and take care.

This is the epitome of natural selection and beauty at its peak.

The nature that surrounds us amazes us day by day, very nice pictures you have attached here.
I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Greetings. Yes 🙂 there is a lot to see in the nature around us. Have a great weekend.


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Minettia fasciata's eye looks so big and amazing. And you have captured some beautiful mushrooms photography nicely. Colchicum autumnale flower looks so amazing. Have a good day!

The mushrooms are very unique, I have not seen such, I like the grey with such wide hat like a real parachute, also bird nest fungi lookvery interesting. Nice that you created such series of different stages.

very nice picture display

Now that's one nasty looking insect😂😂
Love the bent mushroom though 🤗

Great you clicked photos perfect 👌♥️

 2 months ago Reveal Comment