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Observation 240471: Non-fungal

Non-fungal (host Ophrys insectifera)
Code: Bot_882/2015_DSC7023

Habitat: Steep, dray, stony mountain slope, sparsely overgrown, southeast aspect, colluvial, calcareous ground; exposed to direct rain, average precipitations ~ 3.000 mm/year, average temperature 7-9 deg C, elevation 545 m (1.800 feet), alpine phytogeographical region.

Substratum: soil among stones.

Place: Lower Trenta valley between villages Soča and Trenta, above the main road Bovec – Vršič near Matevž farm house, Trenta 1, East Julian Alps, Posočje, Slovenia EC.

Comments: When I observed this orchid (Ophrys insectifera) I thought that I found a new location of this quite rare species in Trenta valley. Only after I started to photograph it with my macro-lens I observed something closely resembling tiny sporocarps of a fungus on plant’s stem. Excited I thought I found an interesting ascomycete on an unusual host. Only later under the microscope I realized that this could not be so. To my knowledge structures observed could not be explained as something pertaining to fungi world. Having no clue what it might be I sent the photos to Mgr. Gabriel Seljak at Agriculture and Forestry Institute, Nova Gorica. He kindly explained me that such structures are most probably build by certain insects, either plant eating bugs of suborder Heteroptera or insects of the family Cicadidae. They put their eggs into a wound made by a sharp special organ. Which species is especially interested in orchids is an interesting question? No definite answer can be given based on these photos.

Anyway, although very interesting looking for an amateur mycologist at the beginning, the small ‘craters’ are non-fungal.

Nikon D700/Nikkor Micro 105mm/f2.8

Species Lists


Proposed Names

85% (1)
Used references: (1) Personal communication with Mgr. Gabriel Seljak, Agriculture and Forestry Institute, Nova Gorica.
Based on microscopic features: Olympus CH20, NEA 40x/0.65, magnification 400x and Novex, Zoom Stereo RZ_Range, Holland (fig. 10). AmScope MA500 digital camera.

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= Observer’s choice
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