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 :-).
We are in eastern New York State (near the Vermont border.
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.