Rare fungi discovery in Dutch Drenthe

Peziza subviolacea, photo by Ronald Morsink

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

New mushroom species have been discovered in the Drents-Friese Wold National Park. The nature reserve had to deal with a major fire in 2018, during which 75 hectares were destroyed. That fire also yielded new nature.

For a year and a half, research was carried out on heathland mushrooms in the Dolsummerveld area . …

The research yielded various rare species, such as Peziza subviolacea, Pyronema omphalodes and Pholiota highlandensis. A new species was also discovered, which was also found two weeks earlier in Enschede. It is Myrmaecium rubricosum. …

Quick recovery

The Dolsummerveld recovers surprisingly quickly from the fire, according to the Drenthe conservation organisation. “It is barely visible where the fire has raged. The hope is that the heather will return to the area,” the foundation writes. It will take a few more years for the snake and butterfly population to be back up, writes RTV Drenthe. Many animals died during the fire, such as grass snakes, adders and slow worms.

Young toad, robins, fungi of Terschelling

This June 2014 video shows a small young natterjack toad being freed again in the wild in the Netherlands.

After 28 September 2019 on Terschelling island came 30 September for us.

A small young natterjack toad had managed to slip under our front door. We returned it to the sand dunes area.

In the gardens on both sides of the Parnassiaweg road in West-Terschelling village, robins sang, replying to each other.

In one of these gardens, sulphur tuft fungi.

This September 2015 video from Britain is about sulphur tuft mushrooms.

The next day, 30 September, we left Terschelling by boat. In the harbour, black-headed gulls and herring gulls.

Beetles help each other against pathogenic fungi

This video from the USA says about itself:

Richard Stouthamer on “What is the Problem” during the Public Session of the “Invasive Ambrosia Beetle Conference – The Situation in California” on August 14th, 2012.

From the University of Bern in Switzerland:

Bark beetles control pathogenic fungi

December 20, 2019

Summary: Pathogens can drive the evolution of social behavior in insects.

Ants and honeybees share nests of hundreds or thousands of individuals in a very small space. Hence the risk is high that infectious diseases may spread rapidly. In order to reduce this risk, the animals have developed special social behaviours that are referred to as “social immune defence.” This achievement is generally assumed to have evolved only in the eusocial insects including ants, bees and wasps. The finding that also more primitively social ambrosia beetles remove pathogens by cleaning each other indicates that social immunity may have evolved already much earlier. This was reported in the British science journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B by Jon A. Nuotcla and Michael Taborsky from the University of Bern (Switzerland), in collaboration with Peter Biedermann from the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany.

Beetles help to raise siblings

“Ambrosia beetles live in galleries dug out of wood, and the roles of group members are not as strictly defined as in the colonies of bees and ants,” says Jon Nuotclà, a PhD-student at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the University of Bern, and first author of the study. Workers can decide on their own whether to help their mother to care for the brood and fungus plantation, or rather to emigrate and establish an own nest. “In the evolution of social behaviour, ambrosia beetles are an intermediate stage between the solitarily and the socially living insects,” outlines Peter Biedermann, a researcher at the JMU Biocentre. But when it comes to disease prevention, they apparently behave like social insects.

Fungal spores trigger mutual cleaning behaviour

“Our experiments indicate that the defence against pathogens may be an important factor in the evolution of social behaviour,” says Michael Taborsky, who supervised this study. If the scientists sprayed spores of the pathogenic fungus Aspergillus into the beetle nests, the workers showed enhanced cleaning of their nestmates. “In fungus-laden nests, the beetles were also more inclined to serve the community: they then stayed longer in the nest to help raising sisters,” Taborsky explains. As a next step, the researchers plan to investigate whether the saliva of the ambrosia beetles might contain antibiotic substances that kill the spores of Aspergillus fungi. It also remains to be studied how the beetles can prevent the development of resistance in pathogenic fungi.

A Beetle performing agriculture

Ambrosia beetles belong to the bark beetles that generally are not popular with the forest industry due to the economic damage they may cause. Their several thousand species are distributed worldwide. Ambrosia beetles infest dying or freshly dead trees and perform agriculture in their heartwood. The beetles are attracted by the alcohol exuded by these trees. They drill galleries into the stems and create ambrosia fungus plantations. These fungi serve as food for them and their larvae.

Fly agaric fungi and sanderlings of Terschelling

Fly agaric fungi, Terschelling 28 September 2019

After 27 September 2019 on Terschelling island came 28 September. As we walked again to the North Sea shore, we saw these fly agaric fungi.

A robin sang.

At a Kroonpolders shallow lake, ringed plovers on the opposite bank.

A chaffinch singing.

Beach, Terschelling 28 September 2019

We reached the beach, as this Lensbaby photo shows.

Scores of great cormorants flew past.

Sanderling, Terschelling 28 September 2019

There were sanderlings, like this one.

Sanderlings sleeping, Terschelling 28 September 2019

And these sleepy ones.

Sanderlings, Terschelling 28 September 2019

And these ones.

And black-headed gulls and herring gulls. Lesser black-backed gulls and a common gull. Two oystercatchers.

Stay tuned, there will be more on this blog about Terschelling birds and other wildlife that day!