Ick and cute

 Now I know some of you will want to skip part of this post, but I found both of my subjects quite interesting. The  Gulf Coast Tick (Amblyomma maculatum) and the  Common Bird’s Nest (Crucibulum laeve) fungus are the my subjects today.

I brought both of these ticks home with me in a container from yesterday’s NPAT Prairie Seekers training field trip. This is the female Gulf Coast Tick. 
The male I think has a very pretty pattern on its back. You may be able to see the hook on its hind leg. This is characteristic of this species. I never knew that male and female ticks looked different from each other, but then again I never have looked this close before LOL.

This is the underside. The life cycle is egg, larva, nymph and adult. The adults and the nymphs have eight legs.  When it is a larva, it only has six legs. Many creatures will prey on them. Some of their predators are birds, opossums, ants (including fire ants), beetles and spiders.
Did you make it this far? Now for something cuter. 
This is a fairly small fungus. See the “eggs” in the open one? That is where the spores are. When the conditions are right, the lid pops off to reveal the “eggs”!

A closer view of the spore containers that are called peridioles.

The peridiole is only about 2 mm across and about .3 mm thick.

The red arrow is pointing to a cord. This cord is attaching it to the cup. When a rain drop hits it, the cord unwinds and the peridiole flies out. Pretty cool! It grows on decaying wood, compost and dung.

This is what the peridiole looks like on the inside. The part is all the spores!

And this is under the compound scope. The spores are about 10 x 4 microns. This was a fun thing to do on a damp day!

Keep looking!


  1. Ok. Th ticks are interesting but i hope thats the last of them. Now the birds nest is more to my liking. Thanks.

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