Currently viewing the category: "attack of the fungus"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: Gaitlinburg TN USA
May 10, 2014 3:21 pm
Hi , my name is Justin I collect insects as a hobby and have taken a couple entomology classes, but I can’t ID this insect. It looks like some sort of a longhorn beetle . But I believe this is husk or shell. Is this possibly a nymph stage of an insect? This was found in November 2013 near Gaitlinburg TN USA.
Signature: Justin. T

Unknown Katydid Nymph

Fungus Infected female Carolina Leaf Roller

Hi Justin,
WE are having trouble providing you with a definitive identification, but we can tell you this is not a Longhorn Beetle.  This is an Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, the Longhorned Orthoptera.  Furthermore, we believe it is an immature Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae, and the presence of an ovipositor indicates it is a female.  This does not appear to be a shed exoskeleton, as there is no evidence of a splitting along the dorsal surface which is where the newly metamorphosed insect would emerge from a cast-off exuvia.  Your image is not as sharp as we would like, and we are uncertain if those are spines on the body, or perhaps the remnants of a fungal infection.  There are several examples on the Field Biology in Southeastern Ohio page of Carolina Leaf Rollers infected with
 Cordyceps fungus that look very similar to your image, and we believe that might be an accurate identification.  The description on the site states:  “Another body invading fungus is Cordyceps. They are known to attack at least a dozen different orders of insects. This is a Carolina Leafroller, Camptonotus carolinensis, a katydid relative.  The dark spot at the base of the abdomen, and the long ovipositor verify this as a female leafroller. Cordyceps fungi may be more familiar to some with regards to ants. This is the same genus that affects the brains of certain ants, turning them into zombies. They climb to high points on vegetation, then the fungal spores spring out of their head. Infected ants are recognized by the colony, and individuals are removed so they won’t cause the entire population to die.”  So, after our research, we are concluding that this is a female Carolina Leaf Roller, a Raspy Cricket, that has been infected by Cordyceps fungus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Egg Case?
Location: Gainesville, Georgia
March 4, 2014 9:12 am
One of my students found this on an evergreen tree in his yard. It is approx. 1 inch long. Is this an egg case or a part of the tree?
Signature: K. Baer

Gall

Cedar Apple Rust Gall

Dear K. Baer,
This is a Gall, which is a generic name for a growth on a plant.  Many are caused by insects, mites and other “bugs” but this is a Cedar Apple Rust Gall in its dormant state and it is a fungus.  Here is what the Missouri Botanical Garden website states:  “Symptoms on juniper: Brown, perennial galls form on twigs. When mature (usually in two years), the galls swell and repeatedly produce orange, gelatinous telial horns during rainy spring weather. The galls of cedar-apple rust are often over 2 inches in diameter, while cedar-hawthorn rust galls are rarely over 2 inches in diameter. Occasionally the twig beyond the gall dies, but usually no significant damage occurs on the juniper host.”
  The University of Missouri Extension website has more images and information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: fungus/spider
December 6, 2013 11:56 am
Hi, I am so glad to be introduced to this website!  We’ve been finding the cellar spiders with “pom-pom” fungus (in our cellar) for several years.  It’s awful to think they might still be alive when the fungus first moves in.  Ours have each been found dead. I wondered if the fungus is feeding on proteins in the joints (and body) of the spider.   Any ideas?
Is this a “new” fungus?  We expect to learn that it might be. Our investigations of biowarfare  (especially regarding so-called Lyme) have led us to components of that disease which are “new” (and patented….) but I do digress :-).
Thanks again!
We are in eastern New York State (near the Vermont border.
Signature: Bonnie

Spider attacked by Fungus

Spider attacked by Fungus

Dear Bonnie,
We are illustrating your comment with a photo from our archives since you did not provide one.  We don’t have much additional information on this phenomenon.  According to BugGuide:  “Cellar spiders with
Torrubiella pulvinata. The online book Tracks & Sign of Insects & Other Invertebrates:  A Guide to North American Species by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney states:  “Many insects and spiders meet their end as a result of infection by pathogenic fungi, which are often highly host-specific.  Infection generally begins with a fungal spore simply landing on the host.  The spore germinates, and the fungus grows internally until it kills the host, at which point spore-bearing structures usually emerge from the corpse.  There are many unrelated groups of pathogenic fungi, and they come in a variety of forms, but the few that are described here account for the majority of the conspicuous and commonly seen types. …  A related but very different-looking fungus, Torrubiella pulvinata, kills cellar spiders (Pholcidae).  It first appears as white, fluffy spheres surrounding the body and each of the leg joints, eventually forming a complete covering of white fuzz.”  So the spider is alive when it is first attacked and it is eventually killed by the fungus.

Thank you, Daniel.
I don’t have the means to take photo and get it to you.  Or rather, I have the means but don’t quite know how to do it.  Sorry.  I am a Luddite at heart. That said, I also have a podcast I call Landslide, on www.ourstreamingplanet.com and www.goingbeyondradio.com  I use the name Bonfire.
In my Lyme disease investigation it is the mycoplasma fermentans that makes me  wonder about the Torrubiella pulvinata’s origins, especially given that it is a fungus.  Pathogenic mycoplasma, one of the Lyme components I am researching, is a patented disease, derived from AIDS and ARC patients and sometimes found in the blood of Lyme patients.
Thanks for responding.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cocoon or Fugus?
Location: Port Saint Lucie, FL 34953
September 28, 2013 11:51 am
This is growing on a dead Queen Palm in my yard in Port Saint Lucie, FL. It looks like a large cluster of bug cocoons but I’m not sure…I could be some kind of fungus. I hope you know what it is.
Thanks,
Penny Oliver
Signature: Penny Oliver

Fungus we believe

Fungus we believe

Hi Penny,
Our money is on a fungus.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply additional details.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fungus tarantula
Location: santa lucia, ecuador
December 23, 2012 6:49 pm
One of the most interesting finds in the cloud forest of Ecuador was a tarantula covered in an orange fungus. He looks better decorated than some of my neighbors lawns!
Signature: polymersn

Fungus Riddled Tarantula

Dear polymersn,
Our website has numerous photos of Spiders covered in Fungus and Fungus also attacks flies and other insects, including this Lady Bug.  See BugGuide for some Fungus photos.  Your photo brings up countless questions and is fertile ground for allowing our vivid imaginations to run amok.  We wonder if this Tarantula was attacked by a fungus infection while it was still alive or if it died and was then consumed by the fungus.  We wonder if the former scenario was true, if the initial infection was something that might have affected the behavior of the Tarantula.  We hope you didn’t transport jungle fungus spores back to your home.  Some of this paranoia might have been fueled by an early childhood viewing of “Matango–Attack of the Mushroom People” though with all the biotourism currently en vogue, people are tramping organisms all over the planet at rates much faster than an natural range expansion would permit.  Thanks for sending us your awesome documentation.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange mushroom like growths in my lawn… bug nests?
Location: Plano, Texas
December 10, 2012 6:06 pm
Can anyone help me identify this?? We have a couple of these in our front lawn. They’re about the size and shape of an average mushroom and they are about as fragile as mushrooms, but on the inside they are made of porous brown water resistant dirt. (I shot one with the hose and it burst into dust, but didn’t become mud!) I’m not sure if it’s a plant. I thought it might be a bug nest of some kind, but I’ve never seen any bugs come in or out of them. What is it??? What should I do with it??
Signature: ~ Dave

Mushroom

Hi Dave,
This is a Mushroom.  It may have been filled with spores.  If you have never seen these Mushrooms before and you had some recent landscaping, you might have introduced the spores in dirt or mulch.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination