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!
One of my, and the internet’s, favorite animals.
[Photo credit: Wikipedia]
B. giganteus, or the giant isopod, is a deep-sea benthic, carnivorous, scavenging crustacean that can grow to a length of 79cm, (30in). As you can see from the photo, it sort of resembles a massive wood louse/pill bug - unsurprising, as wood lice are also isopods, and are considered something of a “cousin” to the sea-dwelling varieties. In fact, like terrestrial isopods, the giant isopod can curl up into a ball when disturbed or threatened.
[Photo credit: SeaPics.com]
B. giganteus is found worldwide, typically from the sublittoral zone, (170m/550ft), to the lightless bathypelagic zone, (2,140m/7,020ft). Its impressive size - most isopod species, marine or otherwise, rarely grow larger than 5cm - is an example of a phenomenon known as abyssal or deep-sea gigantism, the tendency of deep-sea dwellers to grow to much larger sizes than their shallower-dwelling relatives, the reasons for which are still not fully understood.
[Photo credit: Wikipedia]
Giant isopods are described as being pale lilac in color - a surprisingly delicate hue for something that a lot of people consider to be high octane nightmare fuel. Maybe the innocuous color just makes it more unsettling? I don’t know. Personally, every time I see one of these, I am struck by an overwhelming urge to pet it. If you feel the same way, the internet offers countless ways to show your isopod love, (though my favorite one is no longer in production).
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this:
Oh, it’s real.
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]
A spectrum from the Infrared Space Observatory superimposed on an image of the Orion Nebula where these complex organics are found. (Credit: Image courtesy of The University of Hong Kong / Background: Hubble image courtesy of NASA, C.R. O’Dell and S.K. Wong (Rice University))
ScienceDaily, Oct. 26 2011 -
Astronomers report in the journal Nature that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe. The results suggest that complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life but can be made naturally by stars. [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)
Image credit: Ned M. Seidler, National Geographic
Ker Than for National Geographic News; August 8, 2011 -
Predatory dragonflies the size of modern seagulls ruled the air 300 million years ago, and it’s long been a mystery how these and other bugs grew so huge.
The leading theory is that ancient bugs got big because they benefited from a surplus of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. But a new study suggests it’s possible to get too much of a good thing: Young insects had to grow larger to avoid oxygen poisoning.
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)
Image credit: www.thesun.co.uk
- Jennifer Vieges, Discovery News; Friday, June 24
“According to multiple media reports, a 55-foot-long marine animal recently washed up dead on a beach at Guangdong, China. You can see its decaying body in the above image. Now the question is: What’s this species that beach goers are calling a ‘sea monster?’
Live Science showed the photo to three marine biology experts: Scott Baker of Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, Bill Perrin, senior scientist for marine mammals at the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bob Brownell, senior scientist for international protected resources with NOAA’s Fisheries Service.
All three said they think it’s a whale. As to the exact species, they’re not certain, but Live Science quoted Baker as saying, ‘it’s a balaenopterid.’”