So, after years and years of never seeing a single mushroom in my yard, (apart from the odd Panaeolus foenisecii), I find myself suddenly overrun with some very peculiar specimens. I’m weak on fungi, and identification sites have been no help, thus far, so I’m hoping that someone out there might recognize them. For reference, I live in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley region.
These grow in an aligned cluster, sort of like fingers on a hand. They’re about an inch to two inches tall, and the cap of each is a half-inch wide, or less.
This picture might be a bit too “arty” to be of any use; sorry. Stemmed, obviously, with lavish gills and an overall frilly appearance, between two and three inches tall.
The world’s least appetizing bowl of spaghetti. Grows on or close to the ground near a tree stump, and is currently about three inches in diameter.
Any clues you can provide as to what these might be would be appreciated!
[Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; source]
South American armored catfish appear to be South Florida’s newest non-native headache. Given that various species of the family Loricariidae are popular algae-cleaners, (sold as “plecos”), in the aquarium trade, this is hardly surprising. In absence of environmental restrictions, this type of catfish has no fixed growth limits - many a hobbyist has started out with a specimen of about an inch or so in length, only to wind up with a two-foot monster, just a few years later. Releasing an animal one can’t handle - and, arguably, one shouldn’t have in the first place - into the wild is no solution, however, as it results in exactly this problem. Although they lack the vicious reputation of America’s favorite invasive fish species, the Northern Snakehead, (C. argus), Florida’s Locricariidae - which are estimated to number in the millions and have no natural predators in Florida lakes - are causing coastal erosion and destroying native plant life, which means diminished food reserves for native fish species. Additionally, according to a 2010 paper published by the Sea to Shore Alliance, (click here for a .pdf), a specific species of Locricariidae - P. disjunctivus, or the Vermiculated Suckermouth Sailfin Catfish - has been attaching itself to manatees and causing disruptions in their normal behavioral patterns. That fish of the Locricariidae family are also extremely difficult to catch - their sucker-like mouth parts make them impossible to hook on a traditional fishing line - further complicates the problem, as removal of the non-native fish from Florida’s lakes at a rate faster than they can reproduce is highly unlikely.
From National Geographic daily news:
Critically endangered African antelope is last species of its kind.
Photo credit: John Warburton-Lee, Alamy
For the first time in 75 years, an entire genus of mammal may go the way of the dodo—unless a new conservation effort shepherded by Somalian herders succeeds.
The hirola, a large African antelope known for its striking, goggle-like eye markings, is the only remaining species in the genus Beatragus—and its numbers are dwindling fast, conservationists say. [full story]
ScienceDaily (Oct. 4, 2011) — A study into the muscle development of several different fish has given insights into the genetic leap that set the scene for the evolution of hind legs in terrestrial animals. This innovation gave rise to the tetrapods — four-legged creatures, and our distant ancestors — that made the first small steps on land some 400 million years ago. [full story]
(Credit: Cole et al., PLoS Biology, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001168)
Mark Brown, Wired UK, July 14, 2011 -
“Herpetologists at Conservation International have rediscovered the exotic Sambas stream toad (aka Borneo rainbow toad, aka Ansonia latidisca) after 87 years of evasion, and released the first ever photographs of the brightly colored amphibian.
The spindly-legged species was last seen in 1924 and European explorers in Borneo only made monochrome illustrations of it. A decade or so later, the CI and the SSC Amphibian Specialist Group added the species to its World’s Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs campaign.”
Thanks for the heads-up, Mom!
ScienceDaily (July 13, 2011) - This is a snow leopard captured by remote camera in Afghanistan. A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society have discovered a surprisingly healthy population of these elusive big cats. (Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society)
Credit: Photo courtesy of Taylor Edwards, 2010, via ScienceDaily
June 29, 2011 - A team of researchers investigated a desert tortoise from the United States Southwest and northwestern Mexico. What was thought to be a simple problem in species identification turned out to be a very complex matter. Their investigations required forensic genetics and several other methods. In the end, they found it necessary to describe a new species. More than that, the discovery has very important implications for conservation and the development of the deserts of southern California. [full story]
Pyrite Nanoparticles from Hydrothermal Vents Are Rich Source of Iron in Deep Sea
ScienceDaily (May 9, 2011) -
Similar to humans, the bacteria and tiny plants living in the ocean need iron for energy and growth. But their situation is quite different from ours—for one, they can’t turn to natural iron sources like leafy greens or red meat for a pick-me-up.
So, from where does their iron come?
New research results published in the current issue of the journal Nature Geoscience point to a source on the seafloor: minute particles of pyrite, or fool’s gold, from hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean.