We found some puffballs in the garden. Here is a photo and a video:
They are not plants – they are in their own kingdom of life. They don’t have chlorophyll for photosynthesis, and their cell walls are made of chitin – like the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans. Fungi are cool.
The video shows the spores being released, filmed in slow motion and then slowed down a further 25%.
The cicadas are hatching in large numbers just now. They are very loud when you go through Hagley Park, even in a car.
We have made several visits to see them. The nymph stage crawls out of holes in the ground, after feeding on the tree roots for several years.
Then they climb trees, or whatever else they can find, such as posts, blades of grass, dandelion leaves, even just the kerb.
The adults split the nymph exoskeleton and emerge with their wings all crumpled up.
After a little while the wings inflate and harden.
Finally, they fly off.
There are so many at the moment that you have to be careful where you step!
We brought a couple of nymphs home to watch them emerge. They seem to like it best when they had a vertical stick to cling to while they moult. Once they started, it took less than half an hour for them to emerge from their exoskeleton, but then several hours for them to ‘harden’ up.