The common name of this beautiful spider is wasp spider. This spider is, like all orb-weavers, not poisonous for us. The spider prefers to weave her web between grass at a height of 20 -30 cm The adult female has a shining silvery cephalothorax and a yellowish abdomen with black and white bars across it. The adult female is much larger than the male. The male measures between 4 and 6 mm while the female has a full grown size between 14 - 17 mm. When the female is loaded with eggs she can become enormous in size. In July the males mate with the females and often loose their life or some legs after their 'duty'. The female makes a brown cocoon one month after mating and the young spiders hatch the next year in spring. The female dies in the winter. When the spiders are young the differences between the sexes is not so obvious. But the sexes can be identified by the form of the palps. Like all spiders, the palps of the male are bulbier than the palps of the female. When the spider catches its prey it wraps it very fast in silk. After a lethal bite with venom and protein dissolving enzymes it waits until the prey does not struggle anymore and sucks it empty or hangs the packet in its web to consume it later. If a too large insect gets into its web it bites the threads in which the insect hangs loose of its web until the insect falls out.
Initially shaped like a goblet with a very short stem, the fruitbodies flatten with age and develop wavy edges. Individual fruit bodies are 0.5 to 1cm in diameter and usually less than 1cm tall. The upper, fertile surface is bright green and smooth, while the underside of the cup and the stipe are felty and pale blue-green, darkening with age.
The caps of this lovely mushroom are rounded and tend to remain broadly domed rather than completely flat as the fruiting bodies mature. The caps can grow 2 to 8 cm in diameter are semi-transparent and white. The gills show through the thin cap flesh, giving the margin a striate appearance. A mucous slime covers the cap during wet weather. The gills of the Porcelain fungus are translucent white at first, sometimes developing an ochre tint as the fruiting body ages, adnate, broad and very distant. The stems are 3 to 7 mm in diameter, up to 8 cm long, and often curved so as to bring the cap to the horizontal in situations where large tufts of Porcelain fungi are attached to a small area of the host. The stems are slender, with a substantial stem ring. Above the ring the stem is white, below the ring it is slightly striate and greyish.
The cap of Amanita muscaria ranges from 10 to 20 cm diameter at maturity and is red or occasionally orange. Caps usually flatten or even become slightly concave when fully developed, but occasionally the fly agaric remains broadly convex. Caps of the fly agaric usually retain irregular, white fragments of the universal veil, but in wet weather they can wash off even while the caps are young and domed. In all but the driest of weather, Amanita muscaria caps flatten at maturity. When damaged, the flesh just below the pellicle of a fly agaric is initially white but soon turns yellow on exposure to air. Amanita muscaria has white, free, crowded gills that turn pale yellow as the fruitbody matures. Stems are 10 to 25 cm long and 1.5 to 2cm in diameter. White and ragged with a grooved, hanging white ring. The swollen stem base retains the white remains of the sack-like volva, which eventually fragments into rings of scales around the base of mature specimens.
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.