Monday, March 25, 2013

Killer Pink Blobs!

I resolutely ignored the blasting coldness and headed out to find some more goodies. Still no sign of those muddied female wrestlers but I did find the next best thing, kinda - Procumbent Pearlwort in amongst paving slabs. Coolness, lol. The only other new plant was the liverwort Calypogeia fissa in amongst mosses on an earthen bank.

I remembered being puzzled by tiny pink blobs on lichen-clad aspen branches so had done a bit of research and narrowed it down to a few suspects. Heading back to the aspens I was delighted to find more pink blobs with some different orangey-pink blobs nearby. Turns out to be two species of fungus which parasitise Physcia (and sometimesXanthoria) lichens - namely Marchandiomyces aurantiacus and Illosporiopsis christiansenii. And they've done some serious damage to the poor old Physcia in places!

Sticking with small stuff I noticed some swollen, partly open Hazel buds on a few bushes. Taking a few home I found them to be full of the mite Phytoptus avellanae, pretty darn swanky wee things under the microscope. With enough squinting and perseverence I managed to see them with my naked eye, so they're properly on my list now! There's a second mite in hazel buds a little later in the year so I'll be watching out for that one too.

I've got the Centipede Key but have been strangely reluctant to use it so far. That changed today, apart from the usual Variegated Centipede I added Strigamia acuminata, Geophilus flavus and Cryptops hortensis too which doubled my centipede list just like that!

Finally, for today at least, a harvestman beneath a log had me puzzled since it already seemed to be fully grown. More looking through a key led me quite directly to Platybunus triangularis, unusual in maturing in the early spring rather than summertime.

So that's a pleasing jump of nine species in near-subarctic conditions.

Today's additions are:

347 - Procumbent Pearlwort - commonplace in paving cracks
348 - Marchandiomyces aurantiacus - Webbs Folly aspen patch, Epsom Common
349 - Illosporiopsis christiansenii - Webbs Folly aspen patch, Epsom Common
350 - Hazel Big-Bud Mite Phytoptus avellanae - on young hazel near Highest Point
351 - Strigamia acuminata - centipede under a log, Epsom Common
352 - Geophilus flavus - centipede under a log, Epsom Common
353 - Cryptops hortensis - centipede under a log, Epsom Common
354 - Platybunus triangularis - harvestman under a log, Epsom Common
355 - Common Pouchwort Calypogeia fissa - growing on mossy earth, Epsom Common

That's me done for a few more days though - back to work again, boooooo. 


  1. I'm sure you ruled it out, but there is a third pink lichenicolous fungus on physcia that looks like a more solid version of Illosporiopsis christiansenii, Marchandiomyces corallinus. Neither are as orange as Marchandiomyces aurantiacus (reading your write up suggests that the colours were the other way around)

    Good photo's of all three at

    Matt myco-nazi

  2. Yes Matt, I did indeed rule out the third option - and that page you linked is the very one I first went to regards pink lichenicolous fungi (I've had his site bookmarked for quite some time). Once I had a name to Google I checked up on lots of other sites too and I'm happy with the ID of both.

    However, I've just re-read my posting and I see what you mean. Sorry if it appeared that I muddled the two species up - I just write spontaneously (at least I knew what I meant, lol). But next time I'll try to be clearer.

    Cheers Matt,


  3. PS just noticed your tag, lol. You may well come in very handy regards 'supposedly confident' ID's quite often, I suspect :D

  4. Once I finally get around to posting an update I'll be happy to get the same back :)

    I'm pretty impressed over all, people have really been cracking on and getting to grips with all sorts of wierd and wonderful stuff. I've learnt a lot just reading through the posts (which b*stard split the ivy species.. !). I reckon I'm going to struggle to get 500 at the rate I'm (not) going though.