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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Black Spider Hunter

A large, shiny spider-hunter wasp I found on the prowl near Lake Taupo, New Zealand. It has gorgeous iridescent wings and funny yellow knee-patches, but I couldn't get an ID for it, beyond it being one of the Pompilidae.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Slightly Crushed

Fencepost of the Week #108

Well trussed-up, slightly crushed. This fencepost isn't going anywhere, though it might disintegrate in the not too distant future.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Rust and Lichen

Fencepost of the Week #107

Usually the metal surfaces of a fencepost are pretty sterile. But here one species of lichen has succeeded where all other life has failed to take hold. 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Geothermal Horse Dung

Monday Mushroom #101

This is a puffball - Pisolithus arhizus. At this age, it is quite a neat little puffball, but will split and deform and become a gross, slimy, cracked mess as it matures. The black mess can be used as a natural textile dye.

In New Zealand it is restricted to growing in areas of high geothermal activity - this one was photographed in Tokaanu by Lake Taupo.  But in Australia it is more widespread and is called the horse dung puffball.

Horse dung puffball - Pisolithus arhizus

Monday, 7 March 2016

Xerocomus in Downtown Auckland

Monday Mushroom #100

There is a class of small to medium sized bolettes with brownish caps and lemon yellow pores. They used to be lumped together into a genus called Xerocomus - their dry, felty, prone-to-cracking cap texture being a distinctive feature. But the classification is in a state of flux with species sometimes either all ascribed to Boletus, or split between Xerocomellus, Boletus and Hortiboletus and individual species are being split apart or joined together in a bewildering, interminable process.

? Suede bolette - Boletus subtomentosus ?
I find them pretty difficult to pin down; many specimens having features more-or-less intermediate between the various species described in guide books.

? Suede bolette - Boletus subtomentosus ?
These specimens are from Albert Park in downtown Auckland, but they will have come to New Zealand from the northern hemisphere along with the trees they are growing under. Whatever species they may be, I love those lines and textures. ^_^

? Suede bolette - Boletus subtomentosus ?

? Suede bolette - Boletus subtomentosus ?

Saturday, 5 March 2016