Here’s a rare little cutie, a tiny puffball that I might never have found if I hadn’t been invited to do the mycology part of a Bioblitz this past weekend at Alderville First Nation Black Oak Savanna/Tallgrass Prairie. Located south of Rice Lake, the site holds remnants of Canada’s easternmost prairie. It’s one of the most endangered plant communities in Ontario, so even though there hadn’t been much rain recently, I was hyped about what I might find fungi-wise.
|Black oak savanna at the Alderville site|
|Gymnosporangium globosum—cedar-hawthorn rust|
|Cribraria cancellata—a "Chinese lantern" slime mold|
|Cribraria cancellata spores and peridium|
|Cribraria mirabilis is redder than C. cancellata.|
|Cribraria mirabilis spores and peridium|
|Bovista echinella is a tiny, tufted puffball found in grasslands.|
Now, I’ve often been surprised by spores when I've looked through the eyepiece, but I have to say I’ve never expected to see tadpoles with twirling tails, which is what I saw this time. Of course, that’s not what they were; they were actual spores, and their “tails” were long stalks called “pedicels.” Very cool!
|Tadpole-like Bovista echinella spores have long stalks called pedicels.|
|The capillitium of Bovista echinella can be forked|
and septate and is only as wide as the spores.
References:William Chambers Coker, John Nathaniel Couch, The Gasteromycetes of Eastern United States and Canada (as Bovistella echinella)
Mycoquebec (as Lycoperdon echinella)