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

Subject: Another example of Tachinid Fly with Fungus Infection??
Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom
October 6, 2014 3:21 am
Hi all,
I think this is another example (found 6th October 2014) of a Tachinid Fly with the pathogenic fungus Enthomphthora Muscae, it just looks as if it flew straight into my back door and died on impact. Possibly the same as on your web page:  http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2009/12/25/tachinid-fly-we-believe/
Can you please confirm that it is a Tachinid Fly? As I don’t believe there are any ‘natural’ black and white stripped fly’s here in the UK that look like this one.
Kind regards
Signature: Milly – Birmingham (UK)

Tachinid Fly with Fungus Infection

Tachinid Fly with Fungus Infection

Hi Millie,
We agree with both your identification and your diagnosis.  As Karl indicated in the link you provided:  “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).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Close ups of the Cellar Spider
Location: Leamington Ontario. Old farm house
September 22, 2014 7:24 am
I’ve looked to see what my little alien being was called and have seen old posts of fuzzy pictures. So i figured for the sake of science and imagination! This guy was hanging from a web. I’m almost positive it’s dead.
Signature: Adrienne

Cellar Spider with Fungus Infection

Cellar Spider with Fungus Infection

Hi Adrienne,
Thanks for adding to the images we have of Cellar Spider infested with Fungus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Unusual Spider
Location: Stoughton, WI
September 14, 2014 7:51 pm
We’ve got them too!
We have an 103 year old four square and found them in the basement cellar under the porch. We never go there, but we went down there when we found a chipmunk coming in and out from our porch foundation. We went down to flush the chipmunk out and fill in the hole when we discovered these fascinating creatures … albeit creepy!
We live just south of Madison, WI
We had never seen them before.
We have the same questions as everyone else.
Why is this fungus suddenly appearing?
And, is it harmful to humans?
Signature: Mariah

Fungus Riddled Spider

Fungus Riddled Spider

Dear Mariah,
These are probably the best images we have received of Cellar Spiders infested with a deadly fungus.

Seemingly contagious Spider Fungus

Seemingly contagious Spider Fungus

Fungus Infested Spider
Fungus Infested Spider

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