Rõuge mushroom days in focus

Text and photos: Urmas Tartes
Translation: Liis
Without seeing the coral tooth there can be no mushroom days. The life of one of the most beautiful mushrooms in the world, and perhaps also one of the most extraordinary-looking ones, is being observed particularly thoroughly during these days.

You have probably noticed tiny dots in the coral tooth camera daily videos briskly scurrying between the mushroom fringes. Today’s excursion to the mushroom forest offered the opportunity of a closer look at the creatures that whisk around at the coral tooth. On a decaying birch trunk we found a large colony of coral tooth fruiting bodies. We counted a total of 6 large fruiting bodies of different ages.

Most were already in the end phase of spore production. But it seemed that a mushroom in the beginning of slight deterioration is the greater insect magnet compared to a young one.

Various kinds of tiny flies were most numerous. With a length of some 1-2 mm they climbed between the spines, often extending their proboscis to lick some liquid from the mushroom.

A fungus gnat stopped for a moment at the mushroom to rest its feet, but it didn’t stay for long. It seems that the coral tooth would not be a favourite spot for its offspring.
As a splendid surprise for me a tiny winged bark louse (psocid) gambolled between the spines. With its pale colours the insect was quite difficult to notice but the greater was the joy when it was captured by my camera at eyeing the mushroom. The psocids, Estonian “debris lice”, kõdutäid, are insects that eat anything that is ever left anywhere, in accordance with their name. So probably the slightly decaying coral tooth had something to offer it.
Adventuring on the coral tooth too was a leafhopper nymph. This one has no immediate connections to the mushroom to be found at first glance. The leafhoppers are usually linked to plants. But probably it too came simply to enjoy the beauty of the mushroom. Just as the little toad offspring that hurried across the coral tooth.

Apart from the coral tooth there were many more exciting things in the forest, and most were added to the mushroom exhibition to supplement it. By this evening there were already 140 species on show. Tomorrow the coral tooth itself can be expected to join the exhibits. Not the one growing in the camera eye, but probably a little piece of the queen of this story.




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