Fungi Friday - MAGPIE INKCAPS

Coprinopsis picacea it's a very distinctive mushroom.

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Usually, I find only one or two of them on my walks through the woods ...

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... but yesterday, in the inland area about fifty kilometers from home, I encountered a bigger group ...

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... and among those beautiful mushrooms ...

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... I found also a very interesting small spider that I rarely see. The Uloborus walckenaerius.

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Here you can see the spider in its typical pose at the edge of the web, mimicking a dried-out fragment of vegetation caught on the thread.

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Near the center of the web, I photographed this minuscule fungus gnat, seriously entangled in the silky trap.

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The most interesting aspect of finding a large group of Magpie inkcaps ...

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... was the opportunity to observe and photograph these fruiting bodies in various stages of development, including the decay.

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Initially, The cap is egg-shaped and covered by the white, slightly shaggy membrane that gives it a white appearance.

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As the fruiting body grows, the darker, brown background becomes visible, while the membrane turns into decorative white fragments.

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The shape, the number, and the pattern in which these lovely white flakes are spread across the cap can vary a lot from mushroom to mushroom.

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Like in most species from the Psathyrellaceae family, the Coprinopsis picacea fruiting bodies are very delicate and don't last long.

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When the cap is spread like a half-opened umbrella, it starts to melt around the edges.

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As the cap continues to spread, it gets smaller because it continues to melt and roll up, turning into some kind of black goo ...

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... as you can see on these tree mushrooms near the end of their cycle.

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When the cap is completely melted and unrecognizable ...

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... and the dark goo dries out ...

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... the mushroom looks like this. Like some interesting alien thing.

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I took a look at the Uloborus walckenaerius spider from time to time, while photographing the mushrooms in various phases of development ...

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He was mostly quiet on his web. I saw him in different places on the web, but always in the same pose. In this photograph, the spider is feeding on some small prey.

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About half an hour later, when I shifted my focus from the mushrooms back to the spider, I saw him moving.

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The Uloborus walckenaerius crawled to the other side of the web ...

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... and proceeded to envelop another minuscule prey. This was the first time I'd seen this species in action.

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:D Kind of historic moment in my personal history!

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The major problem in photographing the mushrooms at the edge of the forest was their camouflage. Only the white stalk is clearly visible against the forest backdrop made of many confusing, intricate details.

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The flash helped me underexpose the background and make the entire mushroom stand out in the picture.

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The clear blue sky was a nice background for an effective portrait, but I could use it only from an angle that doesn't show the top of the cap.

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Here you can see another small spider that I found here among the mushrooms.

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This is the Linyphia triangularis, a very common and numerous species in the woods across the whole peninsula.

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The Magpie inkcaps aren't life-threatening poisonous but can create a digestive upset. Usually, are listed as inedible.

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The flesh is whitish with a fibrous, watery consistency and sometimes has an unpleasant smell.

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The taste is always unpleasant. There is no way to turn these lovely mushrooms into a tasty, healthy meal. But as a seasonal forest decoration, they are great. One of the most beautiful species in this area. Well, at least in my opinion.

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Finding a relatively large group of these, usually solitary mushrooms was very exciting. And quite unexpected in this dry, mushroom - unfriendly autumn.

As always in these posts on HIVE, the photographs are my work.

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