Sometimes you can find crazy things in your backyard – all you have to do is look. This week I can across this strange organism.
Abortiporus biennis is a true oddball – a gnarled, messy-looking mass of irregular white pores that exude a reddish juice and bruise reddish brown. There is hardly a cap or a stem to speak of, and as it grows it engulfs sticks and blades of grass.
This gnarled form of this species is sometimes given the separate species name of “Abortiporus distortus;” it is apparently the most commonly encountered form of the species, though it does have a more normal looking variety with an identifiable cap and stem
This ground-dwelling polypore often puzzles collectors with its mixture of “normal” shelving clusters and “aberrant” cauliflower-like fruiting bodies.
Despite the common name “Blushing Rosette,” which refers to the hues seen in many fruiting bodies, the color is actually quite variable, ranging from cream, reddish, ochre, to brown.
Third Eye Herp
This organism was quite abundant and frequently seen on my quest for Pacific Ocean tidepool creatures.
Their green color comes from an endosymbiotic (living within the anemone mutually benefiting both organisms), photosynthetic algae in their tentacles and body.
The tentacles can be retracted inside the body cavity or expanded to catch passing prey. When not submerged in the water, they pretty much look like blobs covered with fragments of shells from things they’ve eaten.
Aggregating Anemones catch prey that comes within reach of their tentacles and immobilize it with the aid of their venom-filled stinging cells within their tentacles.
The tentacles are triggered by the slightest touch, firing a harpoon-like filament into their victim and injecting a paralyzing neurotoxin. The prey is then transported to the anemone’s mouth and engulfed.
Despite the potency of its venom to its prey, sea anemones are harmless to humans. I stuck my finger near this one and it wrapped around it, trying to pull my finger into its mouth!
The closest relatives of these amazing creatures are jellyfish and corals. This was a fun animal to make an acquaintance with on my trip to California.
Third Eye Herp