Species of the Week: Dog Vomit Slime Mould

Photo by Sarah Wray

This Dog Vomit Slime Mould (Fuligo septica), our #SpeciesOfTheWeek, was found clinging to a dead tree along the Point Trail. This species is also commonly referred to as the scrambled egg slime due to its yellowish slimy nature. This slime mould is known to travel around damp and wet areas in search of nutrients and for reproduction. They can travel distances of over a meter. The good news is that this slime mould poses no threat to you or your dogs. Unlike regular fungi, slime moulds have no cell walls. Slime moulds, of which there are over 900 species, also inspired the science fiction movie “The Blob” which was released in 1958. Overall, Dog Vomit Slime Mould is certainly an interesting species to find while hiking one of the many trails at Murphys Point.

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Species of the Week: The Halloween Pennant

Photo by Nata Culhane

As a dragonfly, rather than a damselfly, the Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina) belongs to the suborder Anisoptera. Most dragonflies have uncoloured wings but the Halloween Pennants’ wings are tinted orange with brown markings. Their abdomen (tail) is black with orangey-red elongated spots. Halloween Pennants, like many Skimmers, are “perchers” — they spend a lot of time looking for prey from a flower, twig, or rock perch. Skimmers are usually found near calm water, therefore it’s no wonder that we often find them near the Main Beach, on Hogg Bay. As far as dragonfly identification in the field is concerned, skimmers, especially Halloween Pennants, are among the easiest, only to be confused with Calico Pennants. Leave us a comment about another species that you’ve seen at Murphys Point that could also be named for a holiday! 

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Species of the Week: The Common Raccoon

Photo by Nata Culhane

 Our species this week is the Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Easily recognized, the Common Raccoon boasts a distinctive ringed-tail and facial markings that resemble a black mask. They are also characterized by their extremely dexterous front paws, which allow them to handle food and other objects. If you’ve ever had an encounter with a raccoon at home or on your campsite, you may have noticed that they are omnivorous creatures and will consume almost any food item. They typically prefer corn, fruits, nuts, and crayfish, but their diet depends on season and availability of food items — a raccoon living in the wild would have a much different diet than one living in the suburbs. This is why it’s important to dispose of your garbage properly and to not leave unattended food out while you’re camping, or else you may receive a visit from one of these critters. If you have any funny stories of raccoon visits while camping here at Murphys Point, feel free to share them with us in the comments!

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