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Catalogue of Organisms





Updated: 2018-04-11T20:32:30.296+08:00

 



It's a good indication of how serious a threat...

2018-03-15T10:12:22.760+08:00

It's a good indication of how serious a threat this disease potentially posed that the Romans had a deity whose entire purpose was protecting them from it.



Years ago, I read a piece about the ancient Roman ...

2018-03-15T02:26:41.675+08:00

Years ago, I read a piece about the ancient Roman god of rust, Robigus. I was quite confused until I worked out that the word must mean some plant disease in addition to iron oxidation.



Thank you for the correction.

2018-03-13T08:48:17.720+08:00

Thank you for the correction.



sorry to be picky but spelling is Neolicaphrium no...

2018-02-13T15:39:22.688+11:00

sorry to be picky but spelling is Neolicaphrium not Neocaliphrium



I don't know if any attack honeybees. The host...

2018-02-12T10:11:16.427+11:00

I don't know if any attack honeybees. The hosts are generally solitary bees.



Presumably they're more unambigously harmful t...

2018-02-12T06:37:11.242+11:00

Presumably they're more unambigously harmful to beekeepers?



Thanks. Yes, that's mindboggling.

2018-02-07T06:52:24.254+11:00

Thanks. Yes, that's mindboggling.



And now I've found the original source: "...

2018-02-04T10:52:09.969+11:00

And now I've found the original source: "on occasion, more than 100 different species of Erythroneura have been collected from 1 plant in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes". Even allowing for the possibility that some of those might be morphological variants mistaken for distinct morphospecies, that is an absolutely mind-boggling number.

Hepner, L. W. 1976. Fifteen new species of Erythroneura (Erythridula) (Homoptera, Cicadellidae), II. Florida Entomologist 59 (3): 293–300.



Huh, good question. The original quote from Dietri...

2018-02-04T10:45:41.588+11:00

Huh, good question. The original quote from Dietrich (2002) is, "For example, Hepner (1976) noted that as many as 100 Erythroneura species may occur together on the same plant." I originally read this as being the same individual plant, but now you mention it, just the same plant species might be a bit easier to swallow. Pretty incredible, either way.



at one location in North America close to 100 spec...

2018-02-02T23:00:12.195+11:00

at one location in North America close to 100 species of a single genus Erythroneura have been recorded from a single plant

Does that mean from a single type of plant, or from a single individual plant?



I am, of course, familiar with -oid as a general s...

2018-01-10T04:46:01.063+11:00

I am, of course, familiar with -oid as a general suffix, but I nevertheless think it's perverse to use it in a context where it's apt to be confused with a more specific sense.



exactly

2018-01-09T20:57:20.368+11:00

exactly



Not really. '-Oid' as a suffix just means ...

2018-01-09T10:10:49.384+11:00

Not really. '-Oid' as a suffix just means 'resembling', as in humanoid.



It strikes me as rather perverse to given subsets ...

2018-01-08T01:49:47.156+11:00

It strikes me as rather perverse to given subsets of a family names ending in -oid.



More the devilish end of the Puck spectrum, so &qu...

2017-12-29T10:40:07.499+11:00

More the devilish end of the Puck spectrum, so "devil's farts".



I posted a reply here that seemed to be published ...

2017-12-29T00:18:07.722+11:00

I posted a reply here that seemed to be published successfully, but now I can't see it. I apologize if the following is repetitious ...

Boleo indeed means "I throw" in ancient Greek.

The same Indo-European root underlies English kill, with a sense development along the lines of "throw" > "throw at" > "hit" > "kill".



Wow, thanks for all that, Pattock. Tldr, if I unde...

2017-12-28T14:33:40.201+11:00

Wow, thanks for all that, Pattock. Tldr, if I understand correctly, is that the 'wolf' part of the name is probably related to the fairy connection that is pretty standard in mushroom stuff.



Damn, I forgot to add that the wolf was seen as th...

2017-12-25T05:42:25.423+11:00

Damn, I forgot to add that the wolf was seen as the Devil by Anglo-Saxon Christians. So the puckfist means much the same as wolf's fist.

"The wolf is the Devil, who lies in ambush about God's church, ..." From an early 11th century Anglo-Saxon translation of a Latin sermon. Possibly originally by a priest called Wulfstan, ironically.
https://archive.org/stream/sermonescatholic01aelfuoft#page/240/mode/2up/search/wulf



4096 character limit? How dare they? ... Accordin...

2017-12-25T04:31:16.773+11:00

4096 character limit? How dare they?

...
According to "An etymological dictionary of the Scottish language" by John Jamieson (1808, Edinburgh University Press) the common puffball was called the Deil's (Devil's) snuffbox, Blind Man's Ball or Blind Man's Een (eyes) by the Scots.
https://archive.org/stream/etymologicaldict01jami#page/n391/mode/2up/search/lycoperdon
https://archive.org/stream/etymologicaldict01jami#page/n205/mode/2up/search/blind
Jamieson suggests that it had the name Blind Man's Eyes as the spores were believed across the whole of Sweden to cause blindness, as reported by Linnaeus. While this may be true the fact that the fruiting bodies are white, spherical and featureless seems a more likely reason.

I would imagine the spores could cause a severe allergic reaction when in contact with the eyes but most medical reports are about cases of inhalation, which can cause life-threatening reactions.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoperdonosis

Until the 20th century lycoperdon spores were used as surgical dressing and were regarded as the best material to stop bleeding and prevent infection, including for shaving cuts. In the 19th century few farmhouses in East Anglia were without a dried Giant puffball for cuts. As the spores were also used by the Inuit and in Ireland, Italy and Kosovo for stopping bleeding I assume it was effective.

Burning puffball was used to pacify bees and was investigated for use as an anaesthetic. While an effective anaesthetic in animals when too much was given "life was invariably destroyed". One researcher concluded that the active compound was carbon dioxide. The exact species being used is difficult to say as they called it the common puffball, Lycoperdon proteus. As you would expect from anything protean it was a name given to what are now regarded as four different species.



I can attest to the delicious desirability of the ...

2017-12-25T04:29:13.206+11:00

I can attest to the delicious desirability of the unripe Giant puffball. A friend found one (over 20 years ago) and I simply sliced it and fried it in olive oil, seasoning with a sprinkle of salt. It served over a dozen people. The nearest thing I can compare it to is eggy bread (without the offensive egg smell) which, according to Wikipedia is also called French toast, Bombay toast, German toast, gypsy toast, poor knights (of Windsor), and Torrija. It had a texture somewhere between oyster mushroom and marshmallow.

The name Lycoperdon is a modern invention not used by Greeks or Romans. Lycoperdon was translated from the English name wolf's fist, used since at least Anglo-Saxon. Not to be confused with a clenched hand, "fist" means a fart or foul smell. The puffball may also just be called fist, here is the relevant part of the Oxford English Dictionary definition of fist. http://www.oed.com
**********************************************************************
2. The fungus usually known as puff-ball ( Lycoperdon bovista). Also called bullfist n., puckfist n. (see those words) and wolves' fist. Obs.
1597 J. Gerard Herball iii. 1386 Puffes Fistes, are commonly called in Latine Lupi crepitus, or Woolfes Fistes.
1611 R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues Vesse de loup, the dustie or smoakie Toad~stole called..Bull fyste, Puffyst, wolues fyste.
... ...
Compounds

fist-ball n. = fuzz-ball n., puffball n.
1635 R. Herrick Oberon's Feast in Poems (1869) 471 A little fust-ball [1648 Hesper. 137 Fuz-ball] pudding standes By.
1640 J. Parkinson Theatrum Botanicum xiv. lxiv. 1324 The Fusse balls or rather Foist or Fist balls.
**********************************************************************

The specific name "bovista" presumably refers to the bull. Wolf's fist and puckfist are the earlier forms. Puckfist was also a derogatory name for a braggart or miser. Puck would be the fairy or even the Devil himself.

Albanian and German names for puffballs include "bear farts".

The ἀσχίον (aschion - possibly meaning undivided?) mentioned by Theophrastus (Greek, died 287 BC) in his Historia Plantae has been translated as the Giant puffball. However, the passing mention is in a discussion of things that are underground that are not roots. Aschion is probably a synonym for the truffle mentioned just before it. In the same work πέζις κεραύνιον (pezis - something to do with feet or walking?, keraunion - thunder) has been translated as the bullfist that was called Lycoperdon bovista (now Bovista plumbea?). There is no description other than it not having roots and other translations have truffle.



I was thinking of the fact that large bovids, such...

2017-12-20T16:59:15.695+11:00

I was thinking of the fact that large bovids, such as aurochs and bison, remained common in Europe into historical times, and domestic cattle do well here. Compared to them, most deer are small.



Good question. I don't know. But are there any...

2017-12-18T19:14:05.457+11:00

Good question. I don't know. But are there any small deer in cold climates other than roe? All the other deer I can think of from Europe are relatively large.



I believe it is the acid soils of forests that mak...

2017-12-18T19:09:59.620+11:00

I believe it is the acid soils of forests that make them poor preservation habitats, yes (and maybe also the reduced likelihood of rapid burial). But on the other hand, other rodents such as chipmunks are apparently well known in the North American fossil record, and many biases against tree squirrel preservation might be expected to apply to them as well.



Is there something in particular that make small b...

2017-12-17T21:51:35.849+11:00

Is there something in particular that make small bovids less suited to colder climates than small cervids?



"Tamias" in Greek means "treasurer&...

2017-12-17T18:32:12.815+11:00

"Tamias" in Greek means "treasurer"-- a great root for names of critters that famously bury nuts as a food store! (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, colloquially "the red squirrel" (though I think the same common name gets used for a different species in the East) is the only Sciurid I see (and hear) regularly in Edmonton AB.)
But: re the claim that tree squirrels were rare in most of Neogene North America-- could this be largely a matter of preservational bias? Tree squirrels live in trees, which are often in forests, and long ago I was taught that forests (maybe for reasons of soil chemistry) make for poor fossil preservation.