A very strange animal, even Frans Kapteijns had never seen this before

Forest rider Frans Kapteijns shares his knowledge about nature on the radio every week. Listeners can ask questions at [email protected] This time in Stuifmail, he is aware of a mushroom that eats mushrooms, a springtail on a mushroom cap and a dead woodcock.
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Every Sunday afternoon there is a new episode of the Stuifmail podcast.

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On the road
Since Tuesday 15 November, Omroep Brabant has been showing episodes of the TV program ‘Op pad’ every week at a quarter past five in the afternoon, where viewers are taken into the nature reserves of Brabant’s Landschap, which have existed for ninety years. year by year. It is a mixture of nature, culture and history. Historical images are also used and people from the area give their opinion.

What makes this series extra fun is that viewers can also walk the route themselves. These are existing walking routes and a walking app has been developed especially for this edition, giving people extra information along the route.

More information via this link: https://www.brabantslandschap.nl/op-pad-app

Is this a frog or something else?
Yvonne van Es’s grandson saw an animal that looked like a frog, but it isn’t. When I saw the picture I thought of a toad, but I was very doubtful. The animal looked very strange, and I have never seen anything like it. So I hired an expert at Ravon, the knowledge organization for reptiles, amphibians and fish. Ravon came up with the following answer: “This looks like a very emaciated common toad (bufo bufo). The emaciation can have various causes such as pathogens (parasites, bacteria and viruses), a failing immune system and contaminants (substances that occur unintentionally) in food) or a combination of these. This cannot be determined without further research.”

Fungus eats boletus, and everything is nicely cleaned up in a natural system, photo José Geerts
Fungus eats boletus, and everything is nicely cleaned up in a natural system, photo José Geerts

A mushroom ‘eats’ a bolete
José Geerts sent me a photo showing a bolete with a hairy white mushroom on it. I think they call such a mushroom on a bolete bolete rot. When a mushroom – hat with a stem – and a mushroom – hat without a stem – have done their work, they are ‘cleaned up’. All fungi and mushrooms – which are actually the fruiting bodies of a mushroom – are eaten after all the spores have left the fungus or mushroom. In this case, a boletus. This eating can be done by humans (you can eat boletes), animals or by other fungi. You can say: nothing remains in nature, because everything circulates in the ecological system.

A woodcock (photo: Mieke Krom).
A woodcock (photo: Mieke Krom).

Dead bird on the balcony
Mieke Krom saw a dead bird on her balcony. She thought of a snipe or a woodcock. In her picture I see a woodcock. Woodcocks have long bills and their plumage is rusty brown with black spots. On the black back of the head you can see two light stripes. Woodpeckers also have a short tail. They can grow up to 38 centimeters and are therefore the largest in the snipe world in the Netherlands. Woodcocks mainly have earthworms, grasshoppers and caterpillars on their menu. Incidentally, you don’t see these birds very often because they lead a rather withdrawn life and are very shy. They therefore – like hares for example – sit still until the last moment. Then suddenly they shoot away right at your feet, and before you know it, they’re gone. In some regions they call the woodcock ‘the lady with the long face’ because of its elegant appearance and distinctive beak.

A jumping tail (photo: Henk Sieba).
A jumping tail (photo: Henk Sieba).

Are springtails insects?
Henk Sieba sent me a beautiful and well-made photo of a springtail on a mushroom. He has three questions: is this an insect, where do these animals stay in the summer when the weather is dry, and how do they reproduce. Well, springtails are not insects. The group to which the springtails belong forms, together with insects, the basal stem of the hexapods. This rootstock again falls under the class of arthropods. The difference between the two is in the mouth parts. Springtails and a few others have mouthparts that are in a pouch inside the head, insects have mouthparts in the front of the head. Research has shown that springtails actually belong more to the crustacean class than to the hexapods. Their rendering is also very special. In fact, they don’t have sex. The male leaves some kind of sperm packets that the female has to retrieve. Finally, question three. Springtails live mainly in the soil in a climate with high humidity. In dry summers you can sometimes encounter them on their way to wetter ground.

A bark spider (photo: Corry Duindam).
A bark spider (photo: Corry Duindam).

Not from a top hat, but from a jacket
A very beautiful spider jumped out of Corry Duindam’s jacket. She wondered what kind of spider this was. I think it is a bark spider because of its inconspicuous brown color and the somewhat gray back part of the abdomen. On this abdomen you also see a kind of drawing of dark V signs. Bark sac spiders are nocturnal hunting spiders that hide during the day. Such a day shelter can be a spun bag, but they can also hide under a stone, bark, between vegetation or in a jacket. Bark sac spiders belong to the family of bush sac spiders. The males of this species of spider are almost as large as the females. Females grow up to eleven millimeters and males up to ten millimeters. Try to see it in escaping bark-sac spiders.

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Garden full of amphibians and reptiles – Early Birds
All kinds of beautiful and – apart from the viper – harmless reptiles and amphibians live in the Netherlands. They are beautiful to look at, but could also use a little help. How do you turn your garden into a paradise for frogs, salamanders, lizards and maybe even grass snakes? Edo van Uchelen, author of the book ‘Practical nature management: amphibians and reptiles’ shows it in the video above.

A halo (photo: Frank Bentink).
A halo (photo: Frank Bentink).

Large ring around the sun, seen on Neeltje Jans
Frank Bentink saw a huge ring around the sun at Neeltje Jans for a large part of the day. He wondered what this is. We call a ring like the one in Frank’s photo a halo. You actually see a circular, hazy circle of light around the sun. Halos occur in both sunlight and moonlight. It is a phenomenon that appears when the light from – in this case – the sun is refracted by ice crystals. If you see halos, high clouds are present at that time. We call these clouds cirrus clouds. In fact, the name halo is a common name for the family of light phenomena that manifest in the sky. Halos can be seen near the Sun or the Moon and then in all sorts of shapes. It can be lines, but also bright spots and therefore also circles. White and colored.

Porcini mushrooms (photo: Martin van 't Hof).
Porcini mushrooms (photo: Martin van ‘t Hof).

Fungus on the Halter, what is it?
Martin van ‘t Hof sent me some pictures of brown boletes. He thought of brown hoops. I think they are porcini mushrooms myself, because of the thick stem. Brown hoops have a thinner, often light-colored pin and a ring on that pin. Now I can’t see all the stems properly under the hat, but the stems I see are not thin but thick. That’s why I stick to porcini mushrooms. You can come across porcini mushrooms from July to November. Boletes often grow together with different types of trees, and this is also the case with porcini mushrooms. These fungi do this by mixing the fungal threads with the roots of the trees. We call this mycorrhiza. Porcini mushrooms have such a fusion process with native oak trees such as the pedunculate and sessile oak and the American oak.

Beautiful pictures
The front door camera at Marion de Jong’s home showed one morning that someone was at the door. She saw through the camera that it was a nut. She thought it was so funny that she took a picture of it.

Nature tip
Ever since 16 November you can take part in the Outdoor Escape ‘Into the woods’ by the IVN visitor center Oisterwijk. At Outdoor Escapes you are not locked in a room, but walk in the forest. This excursion is inspired by an escape room, but here you are in the beautiful Oisterwijk forest and fen area. Together with Oisterwijk Adventures, three different outdoor escapes have been developed, which can be booked from now on.

Take on the challenge with a group of friends or family. You get a suitcase and go into the forest with it. Along the way, you will encounter various tasks and puzzles. Will you manage to go back in time with the code phrase hidden somewhere in the forest?

You can choose between three different outdoor escapes:
1) Veins: 45 minutes, difficulty level ***

2) Brewing vessel: 45 minutes, level of difficulty ***

3) Chorven: 60 minutes, difficulty level ****

For more information and reservations, go to the Oisterwijk Visitor Center website.

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