Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Flies from Poison Pie

The poison pie fungus (Hebeloma crustuliniforme) which I have kept in a small breeding cage has produced about a dozen Exechia fusca, a common fungus gnat which I have caught several times before in our garden and elsewhere.

The pictures below are of a male (above) and a female showing the marked difference in body colour.

20111214 Exechia fusca male 015

20111214 Exechia fusca female 010

This species has larvae that breed in many different larger toadstools and F. W. Edwards writing in 1926 recorded it from the poison pie Hebeloma.

Making a positive identification of insects like this requires some care.  It ran down readily enough in Edwards, but that was published nearly a century ago and many more species of Exechia have been added to the British list since then.  In this case I checked in Alexander Zaitzev's Fungus gnats (Diptera, Sciaroidea) of the fauna of Russia and adjacent regions. Part II published (in English) in St. Petersburg in 2003.  Getting this book was rather more difficult than getting E. fusca, but through illustrations of the genitalia it does clinch the identity.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Another Ectopsocus petersi

My breeding experiment with the fungus Hebeloma crustuliniforme today produced one small barklouse, Ectopsocus petersi which I have previously recorded from the window box in November 2009, also at a period when there was a rich crop of fungi.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The year's final coppice cut

20111203 Wbx after pruning

Today I cut back the remaining sallows.  Instead of tying the twigs together in a bundle, I have scattered them over the surface of the window box as I think this may encourage more microfungi, as well as making them easier to see when they do appear.

Larger fungi continue to flourish and another small poison pie (Hebeloma crustuliniforme) has appeared near the little pond.

As the picture shows, the window box is starting to collapse.  The rims at the front and rear are peeling away and there is a split where the front side joins the base.  I often wonder about how to address this problem and think that somehow I must find another container to put the box in.