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

Story of the fungi, grasshopper and spider?
Location: Pratts Falls in Onondaga County NY
March 4, 2011 2:55 pm
Hi there. I am a photographer in NY. While out to photograph waterfalls (Pratts Falls in NY to be exact) I cam upon this incredibly impressive Bearded Tooth mushroom (Hericium erinaceus). My mom is into mycology so I thought she would find this fascinating. I was not equipped with macro gear so the images are not the best quality but we thought you may enjoy them. On this fungi was what we think is a grasshopper or cricket. We are not sure exactly what it is. But he even had a hitchhiker. A little tiny spider. Again we are not sure what type of spider this is. Perhaps you will have a little info to share on the types of insects they are and might enjoy the uniqueness of this photo. Thank you for any info.
Signature: Tristi

Cricket eats Fungus and transports Spider

Hi Tristi,
Thanks so much for sending us your photo.  The insect is a Cricket, and we do not recognize the hitchhiking Spider.  The image is so small, it may not be possible to correctly identify the spider.  Our research indicates that the Bearded Tooth Mushroom is edible.

Cricket eating Bearded Tooth Mushroom

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Jumping Beetle
Location: Hurricane, Utah
December 22, 2010 12:01 pm
I noticed this beetle on my kitchen table, and leaned closer to get a better look. It surprised me by hopping away, just like a flea-so I hunted it down hoping that wasn’t what it was. I found it, and it was not a flea, but a pretty coppery pink beetle. It is 2 mm long. I suspect it was brought in from the river near my house in Southern Utah. (I put it in a jar to get better looks in daylight but by morning it had died.)
Signature: Pam

Flea Beetle

Hi Pam,
This is a Flea Beetle, a member of a subfamily of Leaf Beetles, Chrysomelidae.  The fact that you have both a dorsal and quasilateral view aids in that identification because of the enlarged rear femurs are plainly evident.  We are currently in the kitchen trying to perfect a recipe for
Farfala con Fungi Porcini after consulting with renowned chef and photographer Luca Loffredo, otherwise we would take the time to try to identify your Flea Beetle to the species level based on its physical appearance and range information available online on BugGuide.  We did take the time to create a Flea Beetles subsubcategory because of your query.
P.S.  We will post the recipe for
Farfala con Fungi Porcini if it turns out well.

Flea Beetle

Update: We wonder if perhaps it might be a member of the genus Chaetocnema, based on images posted to BugGuide.

Recipe: Farfalla con Funghi Porcini

Update:  Promised recipe for Farfalla con Funghi Porcini.

Thank you for your quick reply, I’d never heard of flea beetles and had fun looking through the other posts. I am experimenting with fudge recipes myself, the Farfala looks tasty, we might give it a try!
Thanks again, and have a good holiday!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Luciia Clusters
Location: Nova Scotia
November 8, 2010 3:19 pm
My friend snapped this photo of slow-moving flies in clusters on a tomato plant on an August, ”fairly humid” day in Canada (I didn’t know Canada had warmth or humidity). They must be Lucilia (seracata?), but what are they doing?
Signature: Mel the Bug Chaser

Mysterious Fly Deaths

Hi Mel,
We are familiar with single Flies being overcome by a fungus infestation (see BugGuide), but this group cemetery is a bit of a mystery that alas, we cannot immediately research as we have already spent far too much time at the computer this morning and we must attend to a few things before leaving home to teach California college students.  Perhaps there will be a comment or two on this posting when we return.

Eric Eaton Concurs
I’m betting it is still fungus-related, but the bottom line is I have no idea.  Maybe the person took images a few hours (or a day or two) later, and then the fungal spores would have been visible?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Parasitic invasion!!
Location: Missouri
November 7, 2010 8:28 pm
I wanted to share with you an extremely poor picture I took…however the content makes it a keeper. I’m sure you get plenty, but this is my first. I believe this to be a parasite infested Lady Beetle. It was pretty much dead, though still moving a bit (probably from the parasites?). Anyway, I’d love to get your confirmation on my suspicions regarding the parasites and also if you have any guess as to what may have infected the beetle. Thanks
Also, I didn’t even notice the parasites until I started editing….as these were shot at around 3:1 magnification, the parasites were too small to see with the human eye (or at least my eyes). If I had known, I would have shot some better pictures…but I just thought it was a dead beetle.
Signature: Nathanael Siders

Fungus on a Ladybug

Hi Nathanael,
We thought this looked like a Fungus that had gotten the best of this Lady Beetle, and when we searched BugGuide we found a section on Ladybugs with Laboulbeniales fungiBugGuide has a photo that illustrates an especially virulent example with this information:  “This is a fantastic photo.  The fungus is a member of Laboulbeniales, under the genus Hesperomyces. Almost 100% positive it is Hesperomyces virescens as I do not know of other species that grow on Harmonia.  Hesperomyces occurs on all sorts of coccinellids (and a Scymnus from New Zealand), including Harmonia, Hippodamia, etc.  As for the rest of the pictures linked here that are on Harmonia, the infections are almost certainly all H. virescens.  Would be happy to help in IDs of Laboulbeniales in the future.
Monica Hughes”

That is very interesting.  I have never seen anything like this before and thought this might be something similar to the work of a parasitic wasp of some kind.  Thank you for the correction on the true nature of this situation and now I have some new interesting things to read up on with the fungus taking over insects.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

white spider with round balls on its joints looks frozen almost
March 30, 2010
We have these in our bulked.. we rarely open it .. and this is what we found … they are alive and crawling, seems to cower from the light.. If you need more pictures I am sure I can try and brave the spiders and take some more..
Bourne, Ma

Cellar Spider with Fungus Infection

Dear Pam,
Numerous times in the past we have received similar images, and we have maintained that the creatures in the photos were dead and being consumed by fungus.  Readers continue to write to us insisting that the spiders are alive.  Your spider is the first that actually does look alive, and we can only surmise that it will soon succumb to this fungus infection.  We are linking to a similar photo on BugGuide of a Cellar Spider in the family Pholcidae that was infected with fungus.  Your spider is also a Cellar Spider.  It may be Pholcus phalangioides, the Longbodied Cellar Spider, a common household species.
These Cellar Spiders appear to be especially prone to fungus infections, as do many flies. Since it is the final day of the month, we need to select a Bug of the Month for April to sit at the top of our homepage for thirty days.  Your letter and photo get that honor for April.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Fly with black and white abdomen…
December 23, 2009
I saw this Fly on the base of my porch light… most of the body of this fly is black or is of a dark color except the abdoman which has white stripes.
The temp. was around 25 degrees outside… the season is winter…
LoLo Monae
Roanoke Virginia

Tachinid Fly, we believe

Tachinid Fly or Fungus Infection

Dear LoLo,
Though we cannot find a match on BugGuide, we believe this is some species of Tachinid Fly.  Tachinid Flies parasitize other insects including caterpillars, and they are important biological controls for pest species.

Karl believes this is a Fungus Infection
I don’t know what kind of fly this is, is but think its flashy appearance could be due to a fungal infection, perhaps by Entomophthora muscae.  There are numerous photos on the internet that look very similar to this this. The white banding occurs as the fungus bursts out between the abdominal segments (presumably just before the victim expires). For more information you could check out: or check out the photos at:

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination