Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mushrooms of Malaysia

Hi, we meet again. This time I'll like to write about mushrooms. There are various kind of mushrooms, and they are either edible or poisonous. People who study mushrooms are called mycologist and the field of studying mushrooms is called mycology. Those who love mushrooms are called mycophiles while those who eat mushrooms are known as mycophagists.

What is a mushroom?

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of certain fungi—the equivalent of the apple, not of the tree. Fungi, including those which produce mushrooms, are not plants; they are related to molds, mildews, rusts, smuts, and yeasts, and are classified in the Fungi Kingdom.

MUSHROOM: a structure, produced by a fungus, that is large enough to be visible to the naked eye and has as its primary function the production of sexual reproductive spores.

Fungi Kingdom

The Kingdom Fungi includes some of the most important organisms, with ecological and economic roles. They continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems by breaking down dead organic material. This process is known as decomposition and they are known as decomposers. In addition, most vascular plants could not grow without the symbiotic fungi, or mycorrhizae, that inhabit their roots and supply essential nutrients. Other fungi provide numerous drugs (such as penicillin and other antibiotics), foods like mushrooms, truffles and morels, and the bubbles in bread and alcohol drinks.

Fungi also cause a number of plant and animal diseases: in humans, ringworm, athlete's foot, and several more serious diseases are caused by fungi. Because fungi are more chemically and genetically similar to animals than other organisms, this makes fungal diseases very difficult to treat. Plant diseases caused by fungi include rusts, smuts, and leaf, root, and stem rots, and may cause severe damage to crops. However, a number of fungi, in particular the yeasts, are important "model organisms" for studying problems in genetics and molecular biology.

Photos of mushrooms

I have several photos of mushrooms from several places in Malaysia that being taken various during my outdoor activities.

Mushrooms of Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve (16 March 2008)

to be continued....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Updates on the Odonata .....

Several days ago, I received an email from an expert of dragonfly, Rory Dow who response to my question that being asked to Linda Averill of World Dragonfly Association (WDA).The email is about the identification of the dragonfly that I discussed before (please refer to the previous topic on Odonata)

Below is the message by Rory;

" Dear Hashimi Ismail,

Linda Averill of the WDA forwarded me your email and photograph for identification. Your photos show a female of a species of Tetracanthagyna (Riverhawker). It is almost certainly Tetracanthagyna plagiata, one of the largest dragonflies in the world. It is a member of the family Aeshnidae and breeds in forest streams. Many members of the Aeshnidae found in tropical Asia fly at dusk and even into the night and it is not uncommon to find them in buildings, but Tetracanthagyna are found in this way less often than some genera.

Do you have any other photographs of the dragonfly, in particular do you have a side view?

Best wishes,

Rory "

Thanks to Rory and Linda for the info. After referring to several websites by using the keywords Tetracanthagyna plagiata, I found that the dragonfly that I observed before has taxonomy as below:

Super-Family: AESHNOIDEA
Genus :Tetracanthagyna
Species : Tetracanthagyna plagiata (Waterhouse, 1877)

Found in Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Borneo, China, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand

For all readers information, the fact is that my school is located between two rivers, the Sungai Dungun (sungai = river; Dungun = a species of mangrove plant, Heritiera littoralis)that flows in front of the school, and the Sungai Jengai that flows behind the sungai. Another fact is the village where my school is located in quite far from the sea (almost 65 km) and rich with tropical rain-forest (unlucky there are a lot of logging activities here). May be that is why the Tetracanthagyna dragonflies could be found here.