Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween in Wildwoood

While walking along a wooded trail on October 31, I decided to stop and search for mushrooms and other fungi. Earlier in September and October, I had gotten photos of bright orange ones that had reminded me of the spooky holiday that was soon to come.

Shaggy Scalecaps had been the most recent ones.

Orange Mycenas had been the most dramatic looking when I put my camera on the ground and shot up toward the sunlight glowing through them.

I had even gotten a good look at Orange Mycenas when they were very young and quite small - just babies!

I could soon see that I wasn't going to find any more orange fungi so I turned to move along the trail when I happened to notice some lichen growing on a tree trunk, in fact the pale green growth had covered much of the trunk. I usually don't pay very much attention to lichen - I don't know much about it, and I don't get very interesting photos of it. However, on Halloween Day, as I looked at the patches on the tree, I saw a few small lumps - and I didn't recall ever seeing lichen lumps. Suddenly, I saw that one of the lumps was quivering! I do know for sure that lichen does NOT move!!! Had I found haunted lichen?

There is the tiny lump that was moving - it was no bigger than a Skittle! I've marked it with a yellow arrow so that you can find it more easily.

I gently lifted the the blob and turned it upside down on my hand - it was a bug!
The underside of a bug!

Once on my hand, it quickly turned itself back over and curled up - much like
doodle bugs or roly-poly bugs  do.

It did stick its wiry little legs out a bit, but it would not uncurl again until I stuck it back on the tree - its home.

I later discovered by looking in Bug Guide that the little critter was a Green Lacewing larva. It covers itself with lichen dust so that its predators won't recognize it and will leave it alone. What a wonderful Halloween costume the little fellow was wearing - it surely fooled me!