Sunday, 9 March 2008

Fungal attack - Cordyceps gracilis

In a few months I'm going to let my online gallery close, so I'm taking the opportunity to post some of the more unusual photographs here.

This is Cordyceps gracilis. Cordyceps fungi are parasitic on insects, some of which are quite extraordinary looking.

The common species of Cordyceps within the UK is C. militaris, which can occasionally be found growing out of buried Lepidoptera.

C. gracilis is much rarer and very different in appearance, but also infects Lepidoptera. It was collected during a heathland survey training event at Poors Allotment, nr. Chepstow and was only the second record for Gloucestershire (though there are now four). It was growing in Pteridium aquilinum litter, which meant that I only had to reach down to pick it up and the whole thing came out easily, caterpillar as well. In case you don't believe that it is a caterpillar, I pulled the mycelium away from the caterpillar's head and took the close up photograph below.

Here is a short clip about tropical Cordyceps and ants:

1 comment:

Allan Ben said...

Cordyceps Sinensis is one substance that metamorphises between spring and summers. It is also referred to as summers grass winters worm.They are used in older population for improving the weakness caused because of aging. Cordyceps therefore have a lot of potential to be one of the most important drugs in medicine.