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Entomopathogenic fungus on a weevil


This unfortunate weevil (Curculionidae, Coleoptera) has been attacked by an entomopathogenic fungus. (I was unsure whether to categorize it as an arthropod or fungus) An entomopathogenic fungus is a fungus that can act as a parasite of insects and kills or seriously disables them. These fungi usually attach to the external body surface of insects in the form of microscopic spores (usually asexual, mitosporic spores also called conidia). Under permissive conditions of temperature and (usually high) moisture, these spores germinate, grow as hyphae and colonize the insect’s cuticle; eventually they bore through it and reach the insects’ body cavity. Then, the fungal cells proliferate in the host body cavity, usually as walled hyphae or in the form of wall-less protoplasts (depending on the fungus involved). After some time the insect is usually killed (sometimes by fungal toxins) and new propagules (spores) are formed in/on the insect if environmental conditions are again permissive. Although still outwardly active and mobile (it flew away immediately this shot was taken), this weevil's fate is sealed. It has been infected by the fungus which will eventually penetrate its exoskeleton and cause its demise.

No species ID suggestions

31 Comments (1–25)

Frederic Ansermoz
Frederic Ansermoz a year ago

Impressive photograph and text.

Bhagya Herath
Bhagya Herath a year ago

great spotting thank you so much for the information

Daniel Rowson
Daniel Rowson a year ago

Absolutely fascinating. Thanks for the informative description.

lightworkerpeace a year ago

Excellent photo. Can I encourage you to post this image on MushroomObserver.Org for the mycology fanatics?

rams4d a year ago

It looks like an alien horse. Very impressive !!!

Seema a year ago

poor insect...deadly mushroom

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh a year ago

Awesome! It looks like a horse.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau a year ago

Terrific spotting!

LarryGraziano a year ago

Truly amazing Spotting!

SachindraUmesh a year ago

WoW! awesome !!

Marlon829 a year ago


MayraSpringmann a year ago

Wow, nice one!!!

eulalia rubio
eulalia rubio a year ago

Interesting and impressive.

chebeague8 a year ago

Very different!

Elsa a year ago

Very interesting and nightmare-ish!

Jared Hersch
Jared Hersch a year ago

Wow I just cant stop looking at this spotting, this is spotting of the year in my opinion!!

hope.martin a year ago


AdamBT a year ago

Nice find!

SallyChuang a year ago

Wow.Very Cool...

AndreaLim a year ago

Very cool spotting 'Sinobug', no so cool for the weevil though.

WOW!! Amazing!! Thank you for sharing, Sinobug.

KarenL a year ago


YukoChartraw a year ago

Poor little weevil! But at the same time, it's fascinating how the fungus thrive on the insects' body.

Jared Hersch
Jared Hersch a year ago

Very Interesting!

ForestDragon a year ago

Wow! Thanks for sharing this. I can't enough of these parasitic fungi. They are just so interesting. Though unfortunate for the host, they do end up looking a bit like a piece of artwork.

普洱市, 云南, Paracel Islands

Lat: 22.77, Long: 100.97

Spotted on Mar 7, 2013
Submitted on Mar 10, 2013

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