19 January 2017. Tim Smith, of Murphys California, collected these ambrosia beetles on his window sill. He had been burning oak firewood, and the ambrosia beetles emerged early. Interestingly, there was a leafhopper assassin bug handy to eat as many as it could get. Thanks to Beverly Bulaon for help with the beetle identification, and to Dr. Lynn Kimsey for help with the Zelus identification.
Click to enlarge images.
Collected in Valley Springs area, Calaveras County, California. 10 January 2017.
This small staphylinid beetle, or rove beetle, is about 3 mm long, was in a bathroom wall, foraging near bathtub. They were finding many of these beetles.
It is in the tribe Xantholinini.
Thanks to Lynn Kimsey for the ID.
Click to enlarge.
Here is a film made from still images taken by a wildlife camera, placed to see what was living under this home in Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras County, California. It was a pair of pack rats. The one-way valve let the critters out, but they could not get back in. And they came back day after day, hour after hour, for over a week, to try and get back in. NOTE… the camera did not have the correct date set: the images were taken in December 2016.
We also see some local wildlife walk by: a raccoon, skunk, opossum, and something shy, elusive, and rare. Go to 3:02 in the video to see the one frame of the furtive creature. I shared the video with John Buckley of CSERC, an organization that uses a lot of similar cameras and is very familiar with the local wildlife. According to John, it “is almost certain to be a weasel…. it’s the right shape… right speed.” and “We only get them infrequently at our CSERC cameras, but they usually are rushing through the photo similarly.”
The weasel is likely there looking to eat those pack rats.
This purple mushroom is probably a type of purple cortinarius. Found in Hathaway Pines, Calaveras County, California. Paul Cooper. 4 January 2017. Thanks to Charles Robertson for the ID.
While removing dead branches from some California buckeye trees near Columbia California, in December of 2016, I noticed many of these dead branches were covered with small black, dot-sized protrusions. Examining the spots under a microscope revealed that these things were some sort of fungus. I sent samples to Dr. Suzanne Rooney Latham, Senior Plant Pathologist at the Plant Pest Diagnostics Lab of the Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services section of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Latham reported, on 30 January 2017, that the fungus is probably Eutypella aesculina. See Mycobank and this GBIF site.
This fungus was originally collected in 1893 by W.C. Blasdale, [see also this UNC page] in Berkeley California, on, of all things, dead branches of the California buckeye, Aesculus californica, the same species as our samples were from. This is the historical reference. It appears that Blasdale’s specimens were then described by Ellis and Everhart: Eutypella aesculina Ellis & Everhart. (1893). Ellis assigned it the species name ‘aesculina‘ from the genus name of the California buckeye, ‘Aesculus‘.
As there are no other host records for Eutypella aesculina in the mycological databases, other than California buckeye, it may well be that this fungus, Eutypella aesculina, is a specialist on California buckeye.
This site lists other species of Eutypella. Notice there are no photos listed for aesculina; it is rarely recorded. We have photos here.
The fungus is causing no obvious damage to the buckeyes; the trees are very healthy, and the fungal bodies are only seen on dead branches.
Thanks to Dr. Suzanne Latham for the great identification, and sharing information and the high power photo of the fungus’s allantoid (sausage-shaped) ascospores.
Click on an image to enlarge it.