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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Clouded Agaric

Monday Mushroom #58

A large and quite distinctive mushroom that appears late in the year.

Clitocybe nebularis - Coulded Agaric. New, half open fruiting bodies.

The name refers to the cloudy colouration of the cap - usually a gray-brown in the middle of the cap, fading smoothly to white around the edge.

Clitocybe nebularis - Coulded Agaric

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Waitakere Dam Tramway

The Waitakere Dam Tramway is a divertingly different hiking route in the Waitakere Ranges. It follows the line of a - still well maintained - tram route and also a water pipeline. There is little gradient and the path is broad and clear and as the track hugs the steeper slopes, you get good views out across the Waitakeres over the tree tops.

Waitakere Dam from the tramway.

There is one short tunnel on the route and a couple of (station?) platforms, one of which has a picnic area attached. The tramway runs from the Waitakere Dam - also worth a nosey - for a little under two Km.

The short tunnel.
Siding near the Scenic Drive end.

At the far end it enters a very long tunnel under Scenic Drive, which is barred and locked. From there you can retrace your steps back to the Dam, or climb up to Scenic Drive via the Anderson Track, although this is a much rougher track than the tramway.

One of the 'Platforms'

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Leaf-veined Slugs

Athoracophorus bitentaculatus? Leaf-veined Slug. Compact, dormant posture.

While on a walk in the Waitakere Ranges, I found this weird, gelatinous blob stuck to the underside of a leaf - perhaps some kind of egg-sac? But then as I examined it more closely it sprouted eye stalks, became slug-shaped and shot off at speed across the leaf!

Athoracophorus bitentaculatus? Leaf-veined Slug. Active - moving at speed.
This is no ordinary slug. With its leaf-vein pattern and distinctive body shape. It lacks an obvious mantle - the lump on the back which makes European slugs slug shaped. It belongs to a group called leaf-veined slugs - many are native to New Zealand, the rest come from neighbouring islands and Australia.

Athoracophorus bitentaculatus? Leaf-veined Slug
I haven't been able to find much information on these creatures either on line or in Auckland library. Particularly no mentions of what struck me as their remarkable alacrity. Here's one of the more informative websites: link! The two that I have seen so far look very like Athoracophorus bitentaculatus, which seems to be the most commonly encountered species in New Zealand.