What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Horrible large mealworm with two inch horns!
December 2, 2009
This one has me stumped! The picture is fairly detailed – hopefully you’ll know what it is. I spent a half hour looking everywhere and came up clueless. It came in a large box of tropical mixed greens from Florida.
Mike in CT
Florida, we think.

Unknown Grub

Unknown Grub

Wow Mike,
WE are seeking assistance on this creature.  It sure doesn’t look native.

Update
We quickly got two comments indicating that this is a Cordyceps fungus infection.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Bizarre Grub: Fungus Infestation, and edible as well!!!

  1. Jeni Generic says:

    I’m not completely sure, but it looks like the grub may have been parasitized by a fungus in the Cordyceps genus. The “horns” would then be the fruiting bodies dispensing millions of spores. Super neat. There is a great clip of David Attenburough talking about this amazing fungus on You Tube.

  2. Dave says:

    My guess, and it’s only that, is that yeah, it’s a native species [Scarabidae, perhaps] with a parasitic fungal growth coming out of it, in the manner of Cordyceps. The ‘tusk-like] growths would be fruiting bodies, meaning a mushroom.

    If this is the case, the insect would be not only edible, but a pharmacological powerhouse. There is a body of lore about the positive attributes of tea made from dried Cordyceps sinensis, which parasitizes certain caterpillars.

    The key detail missing from the original post: was the organism active or moribund? If the former, that would be confusing.

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