Observation of the Week, 11/18/17



Our Observation of the Week is this fungus growing out of a Euryrus leachii millipede, seen in Ohio by hazelsnail!

hazelsnail remembers “the summer when I was three years old, and I got to experience the emerging of 17-year periodical cicadas. I was obsessed with them, and I have been obsessed with invertebrates ever since.” Now a 17 year-old herself, she’s already taking college courses while still in high school and plans on going into the field of genetics “so that I can continue to learn about [snails, millipedes, isopods, fungi] and more...by continuing to share photos of the species I encounter, and the art I make that is inspired by them, I try to show others the beauty of the small, often overlooked parts of the natural world.”

The photo above, she says, is an example of that.

The species of the millipede in the picture, Euryurus leachii, is found in large numbers throughout the woods around my home. Because of this, it was one of the first millipede species I ever encountered, making it partially responsible for the interest I now have in them. When I discovered the dead millipede with the fungus under a piece of bark, I was very excited. It is always amazing to see the ecosystem in action, and this was a perfect example. Not only that, but it showed a beautiful little interaction between two of the groups I am the most passionate about, so I had to get a picture to share.

So far the iNat community hasn’t been able to identify the fungus beyond being in the Zygote family; some members of the family are parasitic, while others grow on decaying matter. The millipede species is a colorful one (when it’s alive) and like most millipedes is detritivore. According to BugGuide, it’s found almost only under and within rotting logs of non-coniferous trees.

hazelsnail (above, on a trip to Hocking Hills), says that

since joining iNaturalist [earlier this year], my identification skills have greatly improved. I also use observations to know what areas to go to see the species I am interested in when I travel. This is very handy, and has made planning trips much more efficient. Before, I would just stop at random parks and hope for the best, but now when pressed for time, I can know where the target species has been seen, and focus on that specific area. Even though I am not the most talkative person, being able to connect with others who share my interests through iNaturalist has been amazing, and something that does not often happen otherwise. I wish I had discovered it sooner!

- by Tony Iwane


- You can check hazelsnail’s drawings and nature photos on Instagram!

- Like some other millipedes, Euryurus leachii fluoresces under UV light.

Posted by tiwane tiwane, November 18, 2017 07:12 PM

Comments

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Spectacular observation, @hazelsnail ! Keep up the great stuff! :)

Posted by sambiology 11 months ago (Flag)
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These are the kinds of things that really fascinate me - what actually happens in the 'natural world'. It's amazing that you managed to capture this image, and probably did so because of your interest in the two groups. I wonder if these are parasitic fungi which killed the millipede, or are opportunistic fungi living on an already dead organism. Are they common or rare?
So many questions, and like @sambiology above, I can only say keep it up. There is a huge, strange world out there!

Ian

Posted by mamestraconfigurata 11 months ago (Flag)

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