Sept 10, 2013. Went out to the 100-pound patch again today. I’ve been checking it every few days since the middle of August. Last year the great fruiting of Lobsters was between August 10th and 15th. Five days ago I found 4 or 5 concealed (see the video) lobsters and then a couple of more Sunday morning. Today I got 5 pounds. BUT, I only saw just a small tip of two. The others were all TOTALLY concealed by pine needles. What I did was stand in the middle of an area were we had picked last year and looked around for a slight lifting of the needles and then scraped the duff back revealing a lobster. Hopefully in 2 or 3 more days they will be popping above the needle litter so they can be spotted easier. I took this video Lobster video of what I am writing about.
A number of times, when I scraped back the duff I found an unparasitized Russula brevipes (pictured above). R. brevipes is believed by many to be the primary host of Hypomyces lactifluorum, the parastic ascomycete fungus that parastizes a host mushroom producing the distinctive rough red texture, preventing gill development, and, in an alchemy-like way, turning an inedible mushroom into one of the very best of edibles – prized in fact. I am including the slightly out of focus picture below that shows an unparasitized Russula and a small Lobster growing in an almost conjoined fashion.
I find, over and over, this host and Lobsters in areas where they are the only macrofungi to be found. I’m convinced that this is the host – at least where I have picked Lobsters. The host may be different in other locations.