Plants and Fungi

Plants and Fungi

Akanthomyces - Parasitic Fungi

Cordyceps tuberculata 2

This is a picture of an unfortunate moth killed by a parasitic fungi, of the Akanthomyces genus, in Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary, in Chachoengsao, Thailand. On first look one assumes that the moth has died and the fungi has simply started to break down its body but nothing could be further from the truth. The moth has in fact been been the unwitting victim of a parasitic fungi that manipulates the behaviour of it's living host in order to increase its own chance of reproduction.

The fungi spores will land on the body of the moth and germinate, they will then enter the moth through it's respiratory system and once inside the host, will grow to eat the living moth from the inside. The Akanthomyces will then send up fruiting bodies (mushrooms) through the moth's brain to release its spore into the air and repeat the cycle with the next unlucky moth. A truly unpleasant death.

 

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