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
Location: New York
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3 Responses to Fungus Riddled Spiders

  1. lisa says:

    We have spiders like this in our new house. I think they look as you describe for Torrubiella, and I’m glad to know what causes this. I had thought that perhaps the effect was due to fungus growing on shed exoskeletons, but perhaps not. I have a photo on flickr, the fungal covering looks very fuzzy. I vac’d all of these up, along with a bunch of living spiders. And then dumped them all outside. They’re probably back in the cellar… I hope this will post the actual photo,

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