"Jeez, I should have shot this on a black BG." This is what happens when you take photos while trying not to focus on taking photos.
L. mertensii, I think, but I should confirm.
About 4 cm long. Observed in Seattle, WA.
These seem to match Aurora's description of Chroomgomphus tomentosus almost exactly . . . except they were growing right under oak (adjacent to redwoods), and in MD he says this species "does not seem to occur in our area." So what could these be?
Each cap here is about 6-7 cm across. Observed in Berkeley, CA.
Update: sent this one to the MSSF list, and received a resounding cry of Camarophyllus pratensis, which looks a lot like the Wooly Pine Spike, but grows under oak, lives in the Bay Area, and has light spores. Perhaps it's time for me to start taking spore prints, and actually keying out my mushrooms...
Not thrilled about this photo, but I thought it was cool that these snails have colorful bodies to match their shells.
There were a bunch of these growing along the Na Pali trail (north coast of Kauai). Flowers stood about 40 cm tall, each about 6 cm wide.
Growing at a lookout. No obvious sign of fire, but I'm sure that's not a requirement.
This is an oddity. I remember seeing these on my mom's compost pile when I was growing up, and I sort of assumed they were the larvae of fireflies. But now that I actually look closer, they look a lot more like adult rove beetles. Hmm....
Update: Ok, paging through BugGuide has me thinking this is Ontholestes. BugGuide only lists O. cingulatus, but Nomina Insecta Nearctica also lists O. murinus and O. capitatus. If O. murinus looks like this, then I think we can scratch it. And if O. capitatus is an outdated synonym for Staphylinus (Dinothenarus) captiatus (as this paper would suggest) and it looks like this, then maybe I should just go ahead and call this Ontholestes cingulatus.
New to me a week ago, now become commonplace. Still, a beautiful slug.
I don't know what it is (yet), but I love it.
Update: I do now: Tethya californiana, the orange puffball sponge, apparently common sub-tidally 'round these parts.
This Great Blue Heron was camped out on top of the same patch of kelp the entire time. I sort of had visions of surfacing only to have my skull impaled by this thing's beak. Thoughts like this are not conducive to efficient air usage.
Some holdfasts had tons of brittle stars.
I'm guessing these are probably Ophiothrix spiculata, mostly based on the length of the arm spines and just looking at other pics I found. Can anyone confirm? I'm guess each arm was no more than 5 mm in diameter. Observed on a kelp holdfast at a depth of about 40 ft, in Whaler's Cove, Pt Lobos State Reserve, Carmel, CA.
I think this was actually on the sign by the parking lot, but I've forgotten it. Will look up later. Also note the crab, again, of unknown species. Reminded me of the coral guard crabs in Hawaii. Wonder if there's a similar relationship at play here.
Update many years later: might this be Urticina crassicornis?
Lacking the kind of biological blitzkrieg of my last dive, I focused instead on some of the demure but beaituful sponges. I'm afraid these photos are going to be more naturalist than artist. Apologies for the photo dump.
California Sea Cucumber, becoming a familiar friend.
Gah, flash! Just wanted to look it up. Later...
Many thanks to Kojun Kanda on BugGuide for ID help: http://bugguide.net/node/view/624195
Squirrels around Flagstaff have big ears and white puffy tails. Thanks for the reminder and the ID, Anita!
or ground squirrel? By the entrance of Lava River Cave.
This is sort of like the cover of a particularly uncreative prayer book, but surfacing to a sight like this at the end of two great dives was sheer pleasure. Pictures can be pure text. Reality, thankfully, cannot.
Hooked slipper snails attached to Ida's mitre.
Our seas here in California are replete with color.
Continuing my ongoing series tentatively titled "Awful Pictures of Holes in the Ground," here's a trapdoor spider's trapdoor! Ok, I had a better picture of the door itself, but if you look closely here, I think you'll see a leg! Sadly, I hadn't noticed the leg when I took the picture. I was a little too busy congratulating myself on actually finding the damn door, which was only about 5 mm in diameter and looking pretty much identical to the rest of the mossy embankment it was in.
I'm pretty sure this is Istiblennius zebra, given the crest and two head tentacles. If so, this is a Hawaii endemic, which is kind of amazing because they are EVERYWHERE in the tidepools running for cover at your approach, often jumping straight out of the pool into an adjacent pool.