Life In An Old Wood Worm Hole

Further trials with the DIY photomacroscope

By Paul James

Whilst preparing an old section of timber which had been considerably denatured by weather and marauders, I noticed a tiny light greyish speck that had clearly developed within the few days since I'd first cut the piece in half to expose its ancient worm holes. This spot of grey turned out to be a rapidly grown colony of fungi, presumably developing from air born spores at the time I exposed the section when it was relatively moist at the time. This was a variety that reminded me of Pin Mould/Bread Mould ?? Phycomycetes : Mucareles ?) :-

The fungus had developed in the remains of wood detritus that had passed through a wood borer from an earlier epoch. The shadowed lower edge of the worm hole can be seen which exits at an angle, highlighting the fruiting bodies and their supporting filaments which is shown in the unsized, cropped section below :-

Within a couple of days or so I imaged this colony again and noticed a transparent 'jelly bean' shaped critter lurking in the shadows below :-

Its motion was very slow, with a tendency to stay put for long periods. In a day or two I noticed one or two more and the first signs of them 'nibbling' away at the fungi's mycelium ? After several days had elapsed as many as a dozen were present and the effect on the fungus was most obvious.

Rare shot of a sideways view of one individual as seen below.

Finally below, last stages before the raiders leave for new food sources :-

The unsized crop below shows hints of leg segmentation. Despite the CCD noise being fairly high I think the macroscope's 58mm camera lens is actually resolving this detail reasonably well with only slight hints of chromatic aberration


The images shown above vary in a number of ways simply because they have been generated using different digicams and lighting techniques. The real test will come when I mount a dSLR with a much larger, quieter CMOS sensor which hopefully will improve image fidelity.


All comments welcome by the author Paul James

 

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Published in the December 2010 edition of Micscape.

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