In the last few days, it has been raining regularly, every day for an hour or two.
The drought is over and some new creatures appeared on the meadows in these new, more humid conditions.
This is the Bovista pusilla, a small puffball mushroom that often appears immediately after the summer rains, before the arrival of other mushrooms.
Not far from this lovely little sphere, in the same corner of the more or less quadrangular meadow ...
... I came across this decaying mushroom. I'm not sure about the species, but it looks a lot like the Amanita fulva. Or some related Amanita mushroom. If you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, and if you take a good look at its center, you may notice a small red detail there.
Well, that interesting little thing is a beetle.
The Triplax lepida. A species from the Erotylidae family.
Most of the species from that family, in their adult and larval stages, feed on various fungi. That diet keeps them well hidden inside the mushrooms and in gloomy, humid places unattractive to people. One of my Internet sources states that " They are rarely seen other than by entomologists and fungi collectors."
In fact, I never saw this kind of beetle before. An encounter with a species new to me is always pretty exciting.
Soon a fly entered the scene.
This Suillia gigantea ...
... landed on the same mushroom.
Meanwhile, the Triplax lepida was minding its own business on the decaying fruiting body. In the following photograph ...
... you can see the fly, sharp in the foreground, feeding on the dissolving gills, and the beetle, blurred in the background, consuming the spongy tissue of the stalk.
Suillia gigantea is a fly from the Heleomyzidae family. Species from that family feed and develop on various kinds of decaying plant and animal material. But the flies from the Genus Suillia are always connected to fungi because the larvae feed and grow inside the fruiting bodies. I haven't found any specific information about the Suillia gigantea, but from these photographs, is pretty clear that the adult flies gladly feed on decaying, dissolving fungi tissues.
Here you can see another fly that visited the decaying mushroom. This is the Anthomyia imbrida, a species from the Anthomyiidae family.
Here you can take a look at the entire meadow and the overall atmosphere in the late afternoon. The small sphere in the foreground is the same puffball mushroom that started this post.
In the grass, not far from the puffball, I found a leafhopper. The Family is definitively Cicadellidae, but with quite a few similar-looking Cicadellidae species around, I can't tell you which one exactly is this.
The leafhopper was cleaning its head and eyes. Here you can follow that scene through six sequences. Ten or twelve meters further ...
... I came across these very small mushrooms.
They grew in small groups. Can't tell you the name of the species. They look a bit like minuscule versions of Tricholoma scalpturatum or Lentinus tigrinus. But they are something different. What exactly - I don't know.
I saw a bunch of minuscule springtails on these mushrooms ...
... but they were too small for my equipment.
It was getting late, and the light was getting low down on the ground, so I took most of the photographs with the flash of my camera on. But I liked the way things looked in natural light, so I took also this long exposure shot with the camera firmly mounted on the small improvised platform made of mud covered with a piece of paper.
In this, very similar shot, I caught an ant running across the platform made of mushroom caps.
AND THAT'S IT. I'M VERY HAPPY THAT THE MUSHROOMS ARE BACK AFTER ALL THOSE LONG, MUSHROOMLESS MONTHS. AS ALWAYS IN THESE POSTS ON HIVE, THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE MY WORK.
The following links will take you to the sites with more information about some of the protagonists of this post. I found some stuff about them there.