Ophiocordyceps unilateralis killer fungi

28 Oct 2014 17:36 - 29 Oct 2014 08:37 #2412 by Paul T
The gruesome Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. (Clavicipitaceae) fungi

Ophiocordyceps are famous for their habit of infesting and killing a host insect, typically ants. The entomopathogenic fungus manipulates its host to climb to an elevated location and clamp on with its mandibles. The insect then succumbs to a grisly death as fungal bodies break out of the head to disperse spores. And the process will repeat itself with another unfortunate victim.

This instance was seen in the Pang Sida National Park in October.




The fungi can be seen as the long protuberance out of the head and you can see two spore sacs on it as well.
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28 Oct 2014 20:40 #2414 by rushenb
Replied by rushenb on topic Ophiocordyceps unilateralis killer fungi
That is an interesting story, and great macro shot!!

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28 Oct 2014 23:33 #2417 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Ophiocordyceps unilateralis killer fungi
I remember seeing this in a documentary. Probably one of the BBC docus, but I'm not sure.
Amazing how this fungus literally plays with the mind of the ant to guide it to his final destination higher up, probably to spread the spores more widely.
How scary would it be if someday it evolves to 'attack' humans.
Or maybe it already does... and is all the evil in this world to blame to a fungus playing our minds ;)

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28 Oct 2014 23:33 #2418 by onflipflops

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