Mica Cap (Coprinellus micaceus) is a very common mushroom in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. In the United States is seen from coast to coast. It occurs from April through October in forests and woodlands, in suburbs, in urban areas, and sometimes indoors. It grows in dense clusters on decaying stumps and logs, and sometimes on the ground on buried wood.
When young, it is dome-shaped, yellowish-brown, and covered with glistening particles. As it matures it flattens out, the particles wash away, and the cap becomes gray at the margins. As the mushroom ages the cap turns black, the margins become tattered, and the gills dissolve into an inky black liquid that drops to the ground.
Photo by Kirk Nelson
Slime mold is a term of convenience grouping together several kinds of unrelated organisms. They were formerly placed in the Fungi kingdom because they produce structures containing spores (sporangia). The modern classification has them divided among several supergroups. The taxonomy of slime molds changes frequently—it is a work in progress.
Red raspberry slime mold (Tubifera ferruginosa) is one of the most commonly encountered slime molds in woodlands. It appears from June through November as a pink to bright red, pillow-shaped, tightly-packed mass on well-rotted logs, sometimes on moss. The surface is knobby, like a raspberry. It is not edible.
Photo by Kirk Nelson
Virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis) is a medium- to large-sized freshwater crustacean. It is widespread and abundant across North America. It is native to central United States and Canada, from Quebec to Tennessee in the east, to Alberta and Colorado in the west. It is introduced and considered invasive outside of its native range from coast to coast.
Virile crayfish prefer streams with rocky bottoms, moderate flow and turbidity, abundant cover, and stable water levels. They often use rocks, logs, or other organic debris as cover. They occasionally dig burrows into muddy banks, especially when water levels are low. To survive the winter, they migrate to deeper water that does not completely freeze and they become inactive.
Virile crayfish are identified by the dappled, olive-brown body with pairs of dark brown splotches on the abdomen; the shape of the shield (carapace) covering the front part of the body; and the broadly flattened, usually bluish claws.