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Cordyceps fungus on dead weevil

Cordyceps sp.

Description:

A weevil that has been killed by an entopathogenic (insect-parasitic) Cordyceps fungus, the fruiting body of which can be seen growing from the victim’s back. The inside of the weevil will be a mass of fungal hyphae. Cordyceps is a genus of ascomycete fungi (sac fungi) whose species are all endoparasitoids, parasitic mainly on insects and other arthropods (they are thus entomopathogenic fungi). When a Cordyceps fungus attacks a host, the mycelium invades and eventually replaces the host tissue, while the elongated fruiting body (ascocarp) may be cylindrical, branched, or of complex shape. The ascocarp bears many small, flask-shaped perithecia containing asci. These, in turn, contain thread-like ascospores, which usually break into fragments and are presumably infective. Some current and former Cordyceps species are able to affect the behaviour of their insect host: Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (formerly Cordyceps unilateralis) causes ants to climb a plant and attach there before they die. This ensures the parasite's environment is at an optimal temperature and humidity, and that maximal distribution of the spores from the fruiting body that sprouts out of the dead insect is achieved.

Habitat:

Found in Monteverde Cloud Forest.

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8 Comments

The MnMs
The MnMs 8 years ago

Thanks Jose Miguel, I just saw your invitation to the mission. I will add it now :-)

The MnMs
The MnMs 8 years ago

Many thanks, Lipase! :-)

Lipase
Lipase 8 years ago

very beautiful!

Diaz José Miguel
Diaz José Miguel 8 years ago

Would fit great on this mission:
http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/1159...

The MnMs
The MnMs 8 years ago

Many thanks Michel! I was also really happy to see this. Making a sharp picture was tricky though, because at the moment was raining and windy and dark inside the forest, but I guess is enough to show the type of fungus and its bizarre story :-)

MichelBeeckman
MichelBeeckman 8 years ago

Really cool spotting, Marta!

The MnMs
The MnMs 8 years ago

Thank you Rob. It was a very unique finding!

RobThacker
RobThacker 8 years ago

Nice find Marta!

The MnMs
Spotted by
The MnMs

Monte Verde, Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Spotted on Apr 10, 2014
Submitted on May 18, 2014

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