Skip to main content

Jack-o-lantern

I feel that I must atone for the stinkhorn of the previous post; thus here we have a really great looking fungus.

A massive growth of the Jack-o-lantern, Omphalotus illudens. This cluster was growing on dead wood on a steep bank, and so conspicuous that everyone that passed by the spot reported on it.

Jack-o-lanterns allegedly bioluminesce, or glow in the dark. Hmmm... Not sure I buy that. Everyone says that they do, but I've not yet seen it. During a nocturnal foray, we went by this clump and... nothing. Not so much as a meager flicker. Burned out light bulbs glow brighter than this mushroom did.

Even if Jack-o-lanterns don't really glow in the dark, they are still very beautiful fungi. The feathery-edged caps are a spectacular orangish-yellow tint, and the overall robustness of the organism is sure to attract the eye.

Jacks do resemble edible Chanterelle mushrooms, and more than a few folks have been fooled into eating bits of Omphalotus. Mistake. You won't die, but be prepared to spend some time hugging the porcelain throne, and enjoying fits of diarrhea and painful stomach cramps.

But the bugs love these things. Jack-o-lanterns emit an agreeable odor, and I was astonished at the number of insects that were swarming the caps, presumably lured by the aroma.

Comments

Tom said…
Nice make-up post, Jim- I've never seen any bio luminescent fungi in the U.S., but I did in Australia- in a sub-tropical rainforest at Lamington National Park. It was perhaps one of the coolest things I've ever seen. This would be great again to see and photograph here in Ohio, let me know if you find any luminescent jack-o-lanterns. I'm a believer.

Tom
Bob Scott said…
Actually I've taken chunks of jack-o-lantern into my windowless bathroom, turned out the light, and waited. Eventually you'll see a green glow. But when and where is it ever that dark outside anymore?
HeronGirl said…
Very beautiful fungi!
Wil said…
Great shots. Is that the clump from Shawnee? I never did get back there to get some pics. We also tried to see if it glowed...nothing, even though it was dark and the fungus well protected from the little light that was there. It sure would be cool to see some bio-luminecent fungi. Thanks for the great post.
Wil

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…