Faerie Lights: Bioluminescent Oyster Mushrooms

Bioluminscent Oyster Mushrooms by Jeff Baurs

Bioluminescent Oyster Mushrooms by Jeff Baurs

It’s not every day that I learn something new about Michigan, but the fact that Michigan has mushrooms that produce their own illumination is a new one to me!! PlantSnap explains that Bitter Oyster Mushrooms (Panellus stipticus) are one of over 80 species of bioluminescent mushrooms:

The mushrooms use a class of molecules called luciferins, which paired with an enzyme and oxygen, release light. Panellus stipticus (also known as the bitter oyster) is one of the brightest-glowing examples of bioluminescent fungi. It is found throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. These flat mushrooms grow on tree branches creating a mesmerizing effect as soon as the sun goes down. Foragers are able to find this variety growing around birch, oak, and beech trees.

The luciferins found in bioluminescent mushrooms are the same compound found in fireflies and underwater creatures.

They recommend that the best way to find them is by identifying them in the daytime, and you can head over to It’s Nature for a look at the bitter oyster mushroom.

Jeff took this photo a couple nights ago in southwest Michigan (Barry County). You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for more great pics!

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“Some day, all of this will be yours”

Frog Watching by Dan Bruell

Frog Watching by Dan Bruell

Dan took this photo yesterday in “perfect frog weather”. See more in his Pond Life gallery on Flickr.

More frogs on Michigan in Pictures!

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On the trail of Bigfoot in Michigan

Bigfoot feeder: Sasquatches Welcome

Northern Michigan Being True To Itself by Martin Hogan

WWJ News Radio had a feature on last month’s UP Bigfoot Conference in Munising:

“We wanted to spread the news, basically, that bigfoot is real, a real thing and in Michigan — specifically the Upper Peninsula.”

That’s the message from Richard Meyer, founder and organizer of the Upper Peninsula Bigfoot/Sasquatch Research Organization (UPBSRO) and the UP Bigfoot Conference to be held this weekend.

…”We have footprints. We actually have some on display this weekend with us,” Meyer said. “People have had a what we call a Class A sighting, where they’ve seen Bigfoot right there in front of them.”

As far as just how many could be in the UP, Meyer said it’s hard to put a number on it. However he said they’ve had “multiple sightings,” including of family groups of anywhere from two to ten Bigfoots at once.

“There’s a breeding population of Bigfoots, for them to have been around as long as they are…So it’s more than one creature,” he said. “There’s males and females, old ones and young ones.”

Bigfoots have been spotted, he said, all across the U.P.. from Drummond Island to Ironwood, and from Copper County all the way down to Menominee.

Meyer said, historically, there have been Bigfoots in the Detroit area as well. “There’s sightings from Belle Isle back from before everything was developed, where they had Bigfoots on Belle Isle and they were crossing the (Detroit) river.”

More at WWJ.

Martin took this photo of a bigfoot feeder in Kalkaska County (a known Michigan Bigfoot hotspot) back in 2019. See more in his 2019 Summer Trip gallery on Flickr. 

More Michigan Bigfoot stories on Michigan in Pictures!

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August 20: Giant Swallowtail with Thistle

Giant Swallowtail with Thistle Jacqueline Verdun

Giant Swallowtail with Thistle by Jacqueline Verdun

I’ve been saving this photo for 6 years apparently!! Way back in 2015 the Ann Arbor Observer had a feature titled The Biggest Butterfly: Seeking Giant Swallowtails that said in part:

The aptly named giant swallowtail is the biggest butterfly in Michigan.

Form your two index fingers into pointers and touch them to each other: if you take a large glove size, the butterfly’s maximum wingspan is approximately the length of both fingers put together. The field guides say around six inches.

The giant swallowtail’s coloration is as spectacular as its size. From the top, its wings look dark brown to black, with yellow dot ribboning and a yellow eye-shaped spot on the end of each wing. When the wings are raised, the bottom is revealed to be a subtle cream interrupted by wavy blue and rust bands.

Ronda Spink, coordinator of the Michigan Butterfly Network (michiganbutterfly.org), says she sees more and more of these butterflies each year. This species spends its Michigan winter in the pupa stage and emerges in two broods each summer, the first in May through June, the second in July through early September.

Read on for more including tips on the best time of day to see them!

Jacqueline took this gorgeous photo on August 20, 2014. You can check out another shot she took of this butterfly right here & see more in her Macro Insects etc gallery.

More Michigan butterflies on Michigan in Pictures.

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Prothonotary Warbler bringing the yellow

Prothonotary Warbler. by Kevin Povenz

Prothonotary Warbler by Kevin Povenz

All About Birds shares that the Prothonotary Warbler got its name from the bright yellow robes worn by papal clerks, known as prothonotaries, in the Roman Catholic church. 

Kevin took this photo back in June at Grand Ravines North Park. See more in his Birds gallery on Flickr!

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Foraging Friday: Black Raspberries growing wild

Black Raspberries Growing Wild in Michigan by Lee Rentz

Black Raspberries Growing Wild in Michigan by Lee Rentz

One of the things I love about summertime in Michigan is stumbling upon a snack when I’m out for a walk! Lee found these beauties near Battle Creek.

Head over to Lee’s Flickr for the latest & also check out his Facebook & leerentz.com to view & purchase prints.

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Say Hello to Oliver & Charlotte

Red Fox Pups (Vulpes vulpes) by John Dykstra

Red Fox Pups (Vulpes vulpes) by John Dykstra

The Social Security Administration has shared the 100 most popular baby names for each state in 2020 to their online list.  For Michigan in 2020, the most popular male name was Oliver & with Charlotte as our most popular female name. Amelia, Olivia, Eva & Emma completed the top five girl’s names while Noah, Liam, Henry & Elijah rounded out the top boy names.

The lists go back to 1960 when David & Mary led the way.

While John didn’t report the actual names of these two when he shared the photo back in 2009, the little guy on the left is definitely an Oliver! See more in John’s Michigan gallery on Flickr.

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An American Bug: The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly by David Marvin

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly by David Marvin

The University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web entry for the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) says in part:

The eastern tiger swallowtail ranges from Alaska and the Hudsonian zone of Canada to the southern United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.

This species occurs in nearly every area where deciduous woods are present, including towns and cities. It is most numerous along streams and river, and in wooded swamps.

As with most butterflies, Eastern tiger swallowtails tend to be solitary. Males “patrol” for a mate, flying from place to place actively searching for females. “Patrolling” male tiger swallowtails can recognize areas of high moisture absorbtion by the sodium ion concentration of the area. It is believed that the moisture found by these males helps cool them by initiating an active-transport pump. Both male and female tiger swallowtails are known to be high fliers. Groups of fifty butterflies have been spotted in Maryland flying 50 meters high, around the tops of tulip trees.

The tiger swallowtail is thought of as the American insect, in much the same way as the Bald Eagle is thought of as the American bird. It was the first American insect pictured in Europe; a drawing was sent to England from Sir Walter Raleighs’ third expedition to Virginia.

You can read on for more including photos. I also found a page with a listing of Michigan butterflies and apparently we have eight species of swallowtail butterfly!

Beautiful capture by David. See more in his 2022 Calender gallery on Flickr! 

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The Last Thing You’ll Ever See

The Last Thing You'll Ever See by William Dolak

The Last Thing You’ll Ever See by William Dolak

Bill shared this photo from the West Lake Nature Preserve in Portage in our Michigan in Pictures group on Facebook & writes:

If you were a fly or a mosquito, this grotesque monster might be your conveyance to the afterlife. Michigan has several native carnivorous plants growing in bogs throughout the state; this one is the pitcher plant. It entices its prey by collecting rainwater; when the insect climbs in for a drink it is trapped by barbs and drowned in the pool. The plant then absorbs the nutrients from the decaying bodies…most gruesome, indeed.

You can check out some more pics from West Lake preserve by Bill including these shots of a Pink Lady Slipper on Facebook.  Read more about the pitcher plant (with another pic from Bill) on Michigan in Pictures!

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Happy (belated) World Turtle Day!

Map Turtle by David Marvin

Map Turtle by David Marvin

World Turtle Day (May 23rd) is an annual day of recognition that was started in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue to raise awareness about turtles & help preserve endangered turtles worldwide. Although it was yesterday, I can’t let it pass without comment & really hope you take the time to Know Your Michigan Turtles. We have TEN native species in Michigan, including the common map turtle

David took this photo back in 2014 and you can see more from him in his Lansing gallery on Flickr.

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