Monday, November 2, 2009

Slime mold and wolf spiders aha!

Still no rain here so the fungi are scarce. Most of what I find are fruiting on wood and last week I found several groups of a slime mold that I'd never seen before. I thought it might be Stemonitis sp. but was informed on MushroomObserver that it's called Arcyria nutans.

One of the groups was along a trail at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa CA on an old, fallen branch that was well-decayed, which appears to be where Arcyria nutans like to hang out. I stopped to admire them and found two wolf spider den openings just below.

When I first began looking for mushrooms, I found many of these at the bases of trees. Most were under Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and incorporated needles from the tree, as well as silk and debris from the immediate area. One was near madrone and was made of mud and about a half inch tall.

I had no idea who was making these fascinating little doorways. Searches on Google for "cunning hole in ground" didn't yield much and I stopped looking, knowing that one day, when I least expected it, the answer would come to me. And it did, two years later when I was trying to identify another spider and came across a picture that looked nearly identical to the holes I was finding and which also pictured a wolf spider.

Today while I was drawing, a spider lurked in the doorway, obviously waiting for me to disappear. I could see legs while I drew and every now and then she'd jet out the door only to do a complicated twist when she saw that I was still in the neighborhood and pop back down the hole.

I ran out of time to draw the Arcyria but plan to go back tomorrow or the next day and finish the drawing.


  1. What an interesting read..I'll look for them when I walk now. And I like the conglomeration; mix of stuff that's very abstract in a sense , especially when you don't know what it is.
    You have such great curiousity.

  2. Thanks, Deb! I wasn't sure if I should start writing more or not. Some people seem to like less words and more pictures. The wolf spider dens seem to show up best after it rains because the leaves get mashed down.

  3. I now have reason to believe that these belong to California turret spiders (Antrodiaetus riversi).