Brown Crust Fungus

A brown crust fungus, probably an immature specimen of Hypoxylon petriniae, growing on a fallen ash branch (Fraxinus excelsior).  The lack of any obvious ostioles is what makes me think this is an immature specimen. I used a razor blade to reveal the perithecia in one corner.  These seemed to relatively small and poorly developed:

Last month I came across what I think was a mature specimen of the same species growing on the same ash branch.  I still had that specimen so I took another look at it, this time through my new stereo microscope with camera. The following image clearly shows the light spots surrounding the ostioles on that specimen:

Close up the ostioles are obvious:

Again I used a razor blade to scrape of the surface to reveal the perithecia.  These are clearly larger that those in the immature specimen above:

Both specimens taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading, UK; the immature one on 2014-03-15, the mature one on 2014-02-09.


Pyrenomycete Fungus

A pyrenomycete fungus, possibly Nemania serpens, growing on a fallen branch from an ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior).  This patch was about 10 x 7mm.

I used a razor blade to slice off the upper surface revealing the perithecia:

And this is a vertical section:

Specimens take in the field below Chazey Wood, near Caversham, UK, on 2014-03-16.


Beech Barkspot Fungus

Fruiting bodies (ascocarps) of beech barkspot fungus, Diatrype disciformis.  These fruiting bodies were about 2 - 3mm across.

This is what they look like through the camera on my new stereo microscope (magnification about 8x):

I used a razor blade to slice the top of one to reveal the perithecia:

And this is a vertical cross-section:

First photo and specimen taken in Chazey Wood, near Caversham, UK, on 2014-03-16.


Cluster Flies

A pair of male Pollenia sp (Diptera: Calliphoridae) enjoying the spring sunshine.  These are one of the commonest flies in the early spring.

Photo taken on 2014-03-15.


Bee Fly with Forked Proboscis

A male bee fly, Bombylius major (Diptera: Bombyliidae).  The proboscis is not usually forked like this.  I thought the tip might have got damaged when I caught it but maybe not: there are other examples out on the web, for instance here.  Here is a close-up of the proboscis:

This image also shows the narrow gap between the eyes on the top of the head, which is charcteristic of the males in this species.

This image also shows the pattern of markings on the wings that distinguishes B. major from other Bombylius species:

Specimen caught on the dam at the lower end of the large lake, Whiteknights Park, Reading, UK, on 2014-03-23.