Field Journal: 27 October - 02 November 2018

There's been no rain since 02 October, and the forest floor is getting dry. Even so, the autumn emergence of critters marches on.

I never spot just one Feather Millipede (genus Brachycybe.) These social millipedes are mycophages (they eat fungi) and can be found in wet places under rotting logs here in Roy's Redwoods.
Found this young Yellow-Spotted Millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana) under a log. Don't let that tough exoskeleton & scary number of legs fool you: Millipedes don't bite and can't sting. At their most aggressive, they smell really bad.
I love all of the forest's squishy children and try my best not to play favorites, but I'm always extra happy to see the Reticulate Taildropper (Prophysaon andersonii.) Unlike the larger Banana Slugs (genus Ariolimax,) these smaller gastropods aren't active above-ground during the warm, dry summer months.
The Black Westernslug (Hesperarion niger) is another sight for sore eyes - they also retreat underground to rest (aestivate) during the summer.
Adult Yellow-Eyed Ensatinas (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) are (as far as I can tell) the earliest-emerging salamanders here, and they're still active even though the forest has dried a bit.
Spotted my first Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) of the rainy season! I found this one under a log, as per usual (don't let the name fool you - they spend most of their time underground.)
The slime molds have arrived! This is Cotton Candy Slime (Archyria denudata,) a bit past its prime.
Banana Bunch Slime Mold (Arcyria obvelata.) Zoom in for detail.
Here is a true harbinger of winter in Northern California: the Western Deer Mushroom (Pluteus exilis.) This species gets an early start on the season, popping up on rotting wood (usually Peppernut/California Bay Laurel) here soon as the temperatures cool & the mornings turn foggy. Continues fruiting through spring.
Another early-season mushroom here is the Smoky-Gilled Hypholoma (Hypholoma capnoides.) Quite a few clusters are emerging on redwood logs. Their cousins the Sulfur Tufts (H. fasciculare) will follow in a few weeks.

Previously: 26 October 2018

Next: 07-09 November 2018

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