Readers’ wildlife photos

A few days ago I criticized an article on God’s silence (“No, we can’t really hear Him, but be assured He’s there!”) by BioLogos editor Jim Stump. Stump wrote me back, saying he feared I’d misunderstood what he wrote (I don’t think I did), but he also sent some cool wildlife photos. Let it be known that two people can disagree on God but still admire His creation (I’m joking!)—rather, still admire lovely evolved fungi.

Jim’s notes and tentative IDs are indented:

I’ve been meaning to send you some “wildlife” photos. I’m not much of a photographer, but I thought these turned out pretty well. It was a wet fall in northern Indiana. The fallen trees in the woods near my home had a remarkable variety of fungus growing on them. I’m afraid I can’t identify all of them. Perhaps some of your readers can.

Unknown species:


Bracket fungus:


Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sp.):


“Flower fungus”:


Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus):



Fungus and slugs:



  1. Christopher
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Fantastic fungal fotos. It isn’t always easy, in my experience, to take a pic of a fungus that captures it’s wild beauty.

    Has anyone here ever eaten Chicken of the Woods? I hear they are tasty, but the only time I’d come across one was before I knew of their edible nature (and my then 4-yr old son attacked it with a toy sword or lightsaber anyway, as boys are wont to do)

  2. GBJames
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve eaten Chicken of the Woods. Tastes rather like chicken.

  3. Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Very nice photos, thanks for sending them to Jerry!

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Very good! Besides being strange, beautiful, and often creatively named, fungi are also special to photography b/c they are often pretty transient. Come back in a couple days and many of these will be past their prime.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Nice photos Jim! I especially liked the flower fungus.

    • Jim Stump
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Thanks Lou. Good to see you again!

  6. Gasper Sciacca
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    How exotic for Indiana. I’m originally from Illinois, and I’ve never seen anything like these.

  7. darrelle
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Jim. I’ve never seen anything like the Lion’s Mane mushroom before. Beautiful.

    It wasn’t Chicken of the Woods, but I’ve eaten a vaguely similar mushroom. I don’t know the name of it. It grows on trees in largish flat plates looking not unlike irregular, well done pancakes. O’ma, the proprietor of a cozy little Gasthaus (only accessible by a narrow dirt track, most people hiked in) down in the valley beneath a small town in Germany named Hermersberg, would walk out the door, find some of these rather large mushrooms, fry them in butter much like a pan steak, and serve it like it was steak. I didn’t even like mushrooms, but that was good eats!

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      I think I saw something similar once, but was told it was ‘coraline fungi’. Not nearly as big and hangy as this one, and it was growing on the ground.

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous fungi! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Posted January 31, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink


    (Relative to us relative to plants, anyway.)

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Trying to remember – isn’t it a particular variant of a flagellar cellular component structure that is shared between fungi and animals, but not plants, indicting that multicellularity most likely evolved at least twice.

      • Posted February 1, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        I’m no expert at all, but according to the diagrams in _The Ancestor’s Tale_ and on the tree of life website, fungi are more closely related to animals than plants are.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 5, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          The two descriptions are not incompatible.
          | |
          Choanoflagellates |
          | |
          Multicellularity |
          | Plants
          |----------\ |
          | | |
          Animals Fungi |
          | | |

          (further adaptive radiations)
          Now, that’s likely to mess up, despite the diagram being laid out in a [CODE][/CODE] block. IIRC, WEIT’s style sheet uses a proportional font in [CODE] blocks, contrary to normal typographic conventions.
          But without a preview button … or an emoticon for “holds nose” …

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted February 5, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

            Hmmm, monospace font … but sequences of spaces get chopped.
            | . . . . . . . . . .|
            Choanoflagellates . .|
            | . . . . . . . . . .|
            Multicellularity. . .|
            | . . . . . . . . . Plants
            |__________ . . . . .|
            | . . . . .|. . . . .|
            Animals . .Fungi. . .|
            |\. . . . /|\. . . ./|\

            (The implication that plants radiated not earlier than animals and fungi radiated is ecologically plausible, but poorly supported. Given the biases of the fossil record to preservation of hard parts in animals.)

  10. Kevin
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    💙 🍄

  11. rickflick
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I used to know a good number of mushrooms by sight, but after several moves to different parts of the country, I am never quite sure about them anymore. I play it safe and stick to the grocery store kind.

  12. Tony Eales
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That Lion’s Mane fungus. Great photos

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      It (the Lion’s Mane) is certainly a form – let alone a species – that I’ve never seen in Britain. Not that that says a lot.
      But the “bracket fungus” is a name I do recognise from UK “fungus forays” over the years. Which makes me suspect that it’s the name of a form, rather than a species. More specifically, it’s a form of the fungus’ sex organs, but not their main body.

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