flesh fly

Pear-shaped Puffball

Friday 6th October 2000, West Yorkshire
earthball type fungus OUT OF THE CORNER of my eye I see a cluster of small speckled brown egg-shapes at the end of the herb bed. Before I realise that they're fungi, the thought rushes into my head that next door's bantams have laid away.

It is a small puffball, probably Lycoperdon pyriforme (pyriform means 'pear-shaped). In Mushrooms Roger Phillips explains that they 'swarm on rotten logs or stumps, often appearing to grow in soil but in reality attached to buried wood by the characteristic white mycelial cords.'

This one was one of a group of three that had grown up through a small hole in a concrete slab at the edge of the herb bed. There are old roots beneath the ground here. Ten years ago we had a large Leylandii cypress cut down in this corner of the garden.

Something, probably a slug, has eaten into the cap of this one to reveal the white flesh. As I draw, I notice a tiny transparent worm (perhaps a nematode?) crawling over the fungus, while a couple of tiny creatures, which I think may be springtails crawl about.

Where the Flies Go

flesh fly The answer to the perennial question 'Where do flies go in winter?' is, at least in part, they come into our house, fly about in the window for a while and expire. This large fly boasts stripy football shirt markings on its thorax. It appears to have large feet when crawling on the window.

The female lays her eggs on carrion which may range from slugs and birds to joints of meat.

In the days before every home had a refrigerator I remember gauze covers that were put over meat kept in the larder. The larder, or pantry as it was sometimes called, was, well still is I expect, a cool, tiny room decked out with shelves, usually adjoining the kitchen and often partially tucked under the page

Related Link

A diary page about springtails

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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