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    www.www.gzbgl.cn / Fungi / USA / Devil's Lake, Wisconsin

    Fungi of Devil's Lake, Wisconsin

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    The Fall Mushroom Foray of 2003 organized by the Wisconsin Mycological Society was held at Devil's Lake in Wisconsin.   Since Devil's Lake is a very attractive spot in its own right, I decided to make the three and a half or four hour drive up from Chicago to photograph some mushrooms, and stay on to photograph the scenery and whatever wildlife was around.

    Expert assistance at the Foray was also provided by the owner of this license plate -Tom Volk, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse who has a very worthwhile mushroom website, and a knack for popularising the subject.

    Here's a very common fungus in America - "turkey tail", named after its resemblance to the tail of the bird which Benjamin Franklin thought should be America's national symbol!   This fungus comes in a variety of shades and colors, which is why it bears the Latin name Trametes versicolor.   I particularly liked the reddish brown band of these ones, and the bold white outlining.

    click here to open a new page which has this photo in computer wallpaper format

    You can find puffballs looking like these all around the world.   Some members of this family, including the giant puffball, are edible.

    These belong to a category called "shelf fungi" because of their shape and growth habits.   I particularly like the way this particular species spreads vertically as well as horizontally.

    I saw a few ladybird beetles crawling over mushrooms during the foray.   I assume they were deliberately hunting other insects eating the mushrooms.   It would be possible to have quite a complex little web of life in one small space, since theoretically you could have a ladybird beetle infected by a fungus eating insects which were eating a fungus which is parasitizing another fungus which is itself parasitizing a living tree!   It fair makes your head spin, doesn't it?

    This fairly ordinary mushroom has a trick up its sleeve - it's luminescent!   At night it's possible to see it glowing, a characteristic shared with some other fungi which can make logs and even legs of lamb glow at night!

    This unusual "orange peel" fungus was growing right beside a busy hiking trail, unobserved by almost every person passing by!   Fungi are just not things which most people think about.

    Aleuria aurantia   (click here to open a new window with this photo in computer wallpaper format)

    This crazy looking thing is a coral fungus.   This photo is a bit of a fraud, since this fungus had already been picked by one of the other people on the foray.   I borrowed it for a little while, planted it in as natural a setting as I could find for this sort of fungus, and snapped away.

    click here to open a new page which has this coral fungus in computer wallpaper format

    Many fungi are at least as interesting from below as they are from above.   These rate as pretty average looking mushrooms, though the color of the gills is nice, but others like the boletes and the tooth fungi have undersides which most people wouldn't associate with mushrooms at all.

    Here are some nice looking mushrooms, whose name I haven't figured out.   If you look very carefully on the right-hand side of the photo, you can see some little yellow dots which are also fungi.

    And here are those little dots, blown up more than a few times!   The common name is "orange wood cup" or "lemon disco", their current Latin name is Bisporella citrina, but they've previously been called Calycella citrina and Helotium citrinum.

    click here to open a new window with this photo in computer wallpaper format

    These little beauties are eyelash fungi, named after the hairs around their edges.   There are various species which look similar, my guess is that these are Scutellinia erinacea, but they could as easily be Scutellinia scutellata, Scutellinia setosa, or something else entirely!

    click here to open a new page with this photo in computer wallpaper format

    As well as the other leaders, we had Marie Trest and Matthew Nelsen along as our lichen specialists.   Lichens are a pretty amazing combination of fungus and algae, with the fungus providing structure and the algae photosynthesizing food for both of them.

    Well, sorry guys, but somehow lichens just don't grab me aesthetically as much as fungi proper!   Nevertheless, there are some appealing lichens, such as this "British soldier" lichen, so named for the bright red coloring on the fruiting bodies, which must have reminded someone of the bright red colors of the British soldiers' uniforms during the American colonial period.

    These objects are, at best, only honorary fungi.   In fact, they're not fungi at all, nor are they an animal or a vegetable!   Instead, these slime molds constitute a "kingdom" of life all of their own.   Some of them form giant single cell organisms with thousands of cell nuclei, others exist as single cell organisms which come together under certain conditions and form a single creature.   Most of them move through or over rotting wood at about a millimeter an hour, consuming bacteria, and eventually move to the surface and produce fruiting bodies rather like fungi, complete with spores.

    If I'm right, then these particular ones are called "wolf's milk slime mold" (Lycogala epidendrum), however at this stage they're meant to be exuding a pink paste, which I didn't observe.   The pink color lasts for less than a day, after that they turn brown.

    Are these tiny things more slime mold reproductive bodies?   I have no idea, but they're intriguing and attractive, so I just hope they turn out to be something which should be on this page - unlike those terrible subterranean parasitic flowering plants from Costa Rica which I mistakenly had on my fungus wallpaper page for well over a year!

    click here to open a new window with this slime mold in computer wallpaper format

    Here's the final haul of booty from a long morning's mushroom hunt.   The fellow on the right is the only other photographer apart from me - the other people on the foray had more interest in eating mushrooms or tearing them apart for scientific research!   The funny looking egg shaped thing just to the left of the middle of the table is a goose egg!   This must be some sort of mycological in-joke which I've yet to fully appreciate, perhaps a reference to the egg like structure which many fungi emerge from.   Considering that we only covered an area a few hundred yards long by a hundred or so yards wide, it's remarkable how many fungi we saw and what variety was there, especially since the weather had been too dry recently to be ideal for the mushrooms to appear.

    You'll find some of these fungi on the Fungus wallpaper page, or you can see Fungi of the Czech Republic.
    www.www.gzbgl.cn / Fungi / USA / Devil's Lake, Wisconsin