Dunn Woods Memories

Dunn Woods, Natural Heart of IU

June 29, 2016
by mitch
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Inky Caps

Inky Caps

Inky Caps

Coprinopsis atramentaria, and Inky Caps in general, encompass the group formerly known as coprinoid fungi, but which in 2002 were divided into 4 different species (The Shaggy Mane, Coprinus comatas, remained as the type species for Coprinus, in the Family Agaricaceae, while the others were dropped into the Psathyrellaceae Family as Coprinellus, Coprinopsis, and Parasola.)

The common feature that had early mycologists convinced they should all be in the same species was that they all fit the description of “inky cap”, delequising quickly into a black liquid as a methodology for distributing spores.

The ones in the picture above were found in the grass behind Bryan Hall, and are known as the common inky cap, Coprinopsis atramentaria, aka Tippler’s Bane. Inky caps contain a chemical named coprine, which inhibits the body’s ability to break down the acetaldehyde which results from drinking alcohol. This can make you feel very puny, do not drink and eat the otherwise edible inky cap family! (Symptoms include facial reddening, nausea, vomiting, malaise, agitation, palpitations and tingling in limbs, and arise five to ten minutes after consumption of alcohol.)

The three species that I see often in Southern Indiana are the common inky cap the mica cap (Coprinellus micaceus), and the shaggy mane (Coprinus_comatus).

Shaggy Manes, Coprinus comatas

Shaggy Manes, Coprinus comatas

June 22, 2016
by mitch
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Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus

This tiger swallowtail was sunning on the path to the north of Dunn Woods. It is a male and perhaps was looking to the woods for a mate, they lay eggs on tulip poplar, ash and magnolia trees, all of which are found in Dunn Woods. It occurs throughout the eastern U.S. south of Vermont, and it is the state butterfly of Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The butterfly is named for the 4 tiger stripes on each wing, and the females can display spots of red and blue at the trailing edge of their wings.

Eastern tiger swallowtail

Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus

June 22, 2016
by mitch
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Black staining polypore, Meripilus giganteus

Meripilus giganteus is a white rot polypore that is fruiting around an old beech stump near the observatory, annually in June. They are mildly sour, but edible when young, as are these specimens. It take a while, the they do stain black after being handled. They cause a white rot (meaning they eat the lignans in the tree), perhaps that have something to do with their staining behavior?

Meripilus giganteus

Meripilus giganteus, black staining polypore

Meripilus giganteus

Meripilus giganteus, black staining polypore

Meripilus giganteus

Meripilus giganteus, just starting to show black staining

June 15, 2016
by mitch
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Eastern Box Turtles

The eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina, has found a home in Dunn Woods. I found one crossing a path in the woods back on September 2015. I thought at the time that it may have been a transient, but I think I was wrong. Box turtles generally stay within a mile or so of their hibernation nest, even though a DNR study done in Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood forests in 2010-11 found a transient individual who traveled 5 miles in a straight path. But in general they stick to their neighborhoods

So imagine my surprise when last night while riding home, I found not one, but two box turtles on the main path running through the woods. I imagined that they were siblings,

Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina