Saturday, July 14, 2012

Coryceps Fungus

Cordyceps is a genus of sac fungi that includes about 400 identified species. All Cordyceps species are endoparasitoids, mainly on insects and other arthropods(they are thus entomopathogenic fungi); a few are parasitic on other fungi. The best known species of the genus is Cordyceps sinensis, first recorded as yartsa gunbu in Tibet in the 15th Century.

 When a Cordyceps fungus attacks a host, the mycelium( the vegetative part of a fungus) invades and eventually replaces the host tissue, while the asocarp(elongated fruiting body) may be cylindrical, branched, or of complex shape. The ascocarp bears several small, flask-shaped perithecia containing asci. These in turn contain thread-like ascospores, which usually break into fragments and are presumably infective. Some Cordyceps species are able to affect the behavior of their insect host: 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. 

Cordyceps fungus takes over brain of an ant, then kills it, Peru. Photo credit: Mark Moffett - LINK
Cordyceps fungus on a robberfly - LINK
Cordyceps fungus growing on a dead insect. - LINK

Cordyceps unilateralis is a parasitoid fungus that infects ants such as Camponotus leonardi, and alters their behavior in order to ensure the widespread distribution of its spores. - LINK
Fly with Cordyceps dipterigena. Photo: L. Gilbert UT Austin - LINK
Cordyceps fungus growing on a large dead fly. - LINK
Bee parasitized by Cordyceps - LINK
Moth with Cordyceps - LINK
Some species, such as the caterpillar fungus, are considered to have medicinal properties in China and Tibet. - LINK
Moth with Akanthomyces species (a Cordyceps anamorph). Photo L. Gilbert UT Austin - LINK
Moth with Cordyceps fungus in Iwokrama, Guyana. Photo by asnyder5 on Flickr
Cordyceps curculionu. Photo credit: Loengrin UmaƱa T. - LINK
A scarabeus digested by a Cordyceps species. Photo credit: Larry Evans - LINK
Carolina Leaf-roller cricket with Cordyceps. Photo by myriorama on Flickr
By myriorama on Flickr
Cordyceps Tarantula. Photo credit: Bryce Kendrick - LINK
Tarantula, Theraphosinae, killed by the fungus Cordyceps ignota, but still clinging to a tree long after death. Photo by Primevil Nature on Flickr
Tarantula killed by Cordyceps - LINK
Dead tarantula invaded by a fungus of the genus Cordyceps. By Robert in Colombia on Flickr
Cordyceps on Spider. Photo credit L Bent Christensen - LINK
Cordyceps bassiana - LINK

 Info from here

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