Kris and Ilsa had a successful and fun research field trip in Montana this September. We were invited by Dr. Cathy L. Cripps, a mycologist from Montana State University in Bozeman. Dr. Cripps is the author of Rocky Mountain Mushrooms By Habitat.
Her husband, Don came along, as did one of her graduate students. Ilsa found 8 specimens of truffles during the hunt.
Here’s what Dr. Cripps said about that outing:
What an interesting field trip! Ilsa is certainly a special dog of very high caliber! We have 8 collections of hypogeous fungi: 2 of Hydnotrya cubispora, 3 of Gautieria monticola, and 3 of Hydnotrya cerebriformis. So Ilsa certainly did her job!! We have not catalogued the third species before. It was really nice meeting you and I suspect we will interact again sometime in the future.
I am attaching a photo of Hydnotrya cf cerebriformis for you. It has a ‘cf’ in the middle that stands for ‘circa forma’ or ‘around the form’ in Latin meaning that it is at least close to this species but is not entirely confirmed yet — it is a mycological fudge factor. This is a known species for Montana, but we had not found it in this location before. Hydnotryas are Ascomycota, and Gautieria species are Basidiomycota, so it appears that Ilsa can smell both! What a nose!