The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

A woodpecker’s near miss, mystery lichen (FUNGUS!) and hidden treasures

I was on a bark-peeling mission today…I found this:   

This pupa was found under bark of a dying tree.


The thin, translucent, filamentous fibres of the cocoon encircled the pupa; it was evident where they had once adhered to the tree as well.    

Closeup of cocoon fibres


A woodpecker had come very close to finding this tasty morsel hidden beneath the bark…   

The woodpecker's bore hole is on the left; the shallow, pale, oval cavity that held the pupa and cocoon is on the right


Other treasures were to be found.  Peeling back bark from another tree revealed striking green lichen fungi growing beneath; I don’t recall ever seeing these before.    

Tiny bright green lichen (fungi?) growing beneath bark


I thought initially they were tiny fungi, as they were almost exclusively single, stalked bodies, but in the few “clusters” I saw there appear to be apothecia (spore-forming reproductive bodies) typical of lichens…any experts out there that can help me with these?  Thanks Susannah!  Susannah has solved the mystery for me…these ARE, in fact, the fruiting bodies of fungi: so-called “green stain” fungi,  most likely Chlorociboria aeruginascens.  There is a second green stain fungus, C. aeruginosa, but it is less common; only microscopic examination can distinguish the two species.  The largest of the bodies was approximately 5mm in diameter.  Here is a closeup (this cluster was about 1cm total diameter):   

Closeup of bright green Chlorociboria aeruginascens


Now, I have to admit that I was so taken by these little green gems, that I managed to overlook several dozen arthropods sitting about 6 inches away.  For serious.  Here’s a closeup of a crop of a zoom of the first lichen picture, which was taken from about 3 feet away:  


Can you see them? Collembola. Grrrr.


I’m so annoyed at myself for not seeing these. (*smacks forehead loudly with palm*)  From this super-fuzzy picture and based on their size, they’re springtails (Collembola) of some kind.  Springtails overwinter as adults.  One type, the “snow flea” can be found active and on the snow during warmer winter days, absorbing heat from the sun with their dark-coloured bodies.  These don’t look like snow fleas to me…and they were not active at all, I’m sure I would have noticed had they been moving.   I will check back at that tree next time I’m on walkabout to see if I can capture some proper images.  (*again with the forehead smacking*)

2 responses to “A woodpecker’s near miss, mystery lichen (FUNGUS!) and hidden treasures

  1. Susannah February 22, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Those look like the ones I found on a log under mixed forest here. I think they’re “Green stain”, Chlorociboria aeruginascens. The cup is about 5 mm. wide, and they’re exactly that colour.

    I went back a year later, and they were still growing there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: