Vinegaroons and Spore Dispersal of Fungi

24 February 2012

I always knew that fungi dispersed spores, but never got to know the extent of dispersal nor witnessed one. It was only during a night shoot when some of us thought they saw “smoke” coming out of a fallen log, and realized that they were spores being dispersed.

Bracket Fungi dispersing spores - DSC_2728#1 Looked like a sandstorm up close. The spores were carried lightly in the gentle breeze. For those of us squatting there, we would probably have breathed in thousands of spores. @.@

Bracket Fungi dispersing spores - DSC_2764#2 Trying to document the floating spores

Bracket fungi dispersing spores - DSC_2773#3 Every shot would look similar, yet vastly different

Bracket fungi dispersing spores - DSC_2809#4 The source: lots of bracket fungi on a fallen log

Bracket Fungi dispersing spores - DSC_2825#5 It seemed to be dispersing spores non-stop

Bracket Fungi dispersing spores - DSC_2843#6 Finally satisfied with this image to show the phenomenon

The other unique find of the night was the discovery of a Vinegaroon, a.k.a. Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida, formerly Uropygi) It seemed quite skittish and sensitive to our torch lights, but we managed to capture some shots after some climbing through lots of dried branches.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3079#7 The Whip Scorpion seemed quite irritated by our presence. Surprisingly, we did not get sprayed with any “vinegar”. It could have used up it’s ammunition earlier…?

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3086#8 The “whip” refers to the tail, and the base of the tail is also where the glands secreting the “vinegar” are located. The tail also has a sensory function, and is often hairy to help “feel” around.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3095#9 It has eight pairs of legs, with the front-most pair extra long and modified to function as feelers.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3101#10 The massive palps are claw-like and used to capture prey. Not very surprising here. 🙂

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3110#11 Very dark and reflective, this is one of the most difficult subjects to light up. I was carrying everything handheld so it was too difficult to adjust the flash.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3140#12 Attempt at alternative lighting. The hair on the tail can be seen clearly here.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3141#13 Positioned flashes both at the top and bottom of the whip scorpion.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3145#14 Final shot before we left the jittery fella scampering off.

There were several other finds in the night, not that much less unique. 🙂
Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_2858#15 Close up of a Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae)

Masked Hunter (Reduvius sp.) - DSC_2880#16 Masked Hunter, or Assassin Bug nymph. Very well camouflaged on tree bark. See if you can spot the eyes. 🙂

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_2896#17 Harvestman (Opiliones)

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_2900#18 What happens when I miss the subject altogether. lol

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_2901#19 This was what I was trying to shoot

Trap-jaw Ant (Odontomachus sp.) - DSC_2914#20 Trap jaw ant?

Trap-jaw Ant (Odontomachus sp.) - DSC_2924#21 Trap jaw ant with a tiny ant beside

Scorpion with babies (Scorpiones) - DSC_2932#22 Found a scorpion carrying it’s newborns

Scorpion with babies (Scorpiones) - DSC_2942#23 Almost customary to take a UV-lit version of all scorpions. 🙂

Scorpion with babies (Scorpiones) - DSC_2944#24 Close up. Quite obvious that the young ones do not exhibit UV-fluorescence. For more on why scorpions glow under UV light, I have a post on it: Why do Scorpions Glow under UV Light?

Planthopper (Fulgoridae) - DSC_2959#25 Rick found this tiny little Fulgoridae nymph. Has an elongated snout. Lantern bug baby?? 🙂

Planthopper (Fulgoridae) - DSC_2964#26 Top view shows very beautiful colours on the bug.

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_2972#27 Not sure of ID. Anyone with hints on this?

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_2978#28 Close up on the eye arrangement

Planthopper nymph (Fulgoromorpha) - DSC_3050#29 Planthopper nymph with the “starburst fiber optic” tail

Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_3064#30 A tiny jumping spider (Salticidae)

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_2707#31 Huntsman spider (Sparassidae) found in the leaf litter

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_2747#32 Another huntsman spider (Sparassidae) on a fallen log

Flatid Planthopper? (Fulgoromorpha) - DSC_2713#33 Leafhopper engulfed in fungus

The complete album can be viewed here.




Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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