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DRAFT: Arthropod Pathogenic Fungi

This article is an effort to bring together all of BugGuide's images of bugs that have been attacked by fungi. Clicking a thumbnail will take you to the full-sized image, which may be linked to additional images of the same individual. If you come across images that are not shown here--particularly of different fungi or different victims--please add links to them in the comments below.

Check out this video to learn a bit about Cordyceps, a mostly tropical genus of fungus that can be found in the southeastern US. (In the Amazon, there are treehoppers in the genus Bocydium that appear to mimic these fungi. Some examples are shown here.) There is more information about Cordyceps and related fungi here. There are many other types of arthropod pathogenic fungi. If you come across good information about them, please post links etc. below and I will incorporate them here.

Life cycle information, along with many references, can be found in:
Roy, H. E., D.C. Steinkraus, J. Eilenberg, A.E. Hajek, and J.K. Pell. 2006. Bizarre interactions and endgames: entomopathogenic fungi and their arthropod hosts. Annual Review of Entomology 51:331-57.

Most, if not all, of these spiders are afflicted with species of Gibellula (a.k.a. Torrubiella). Kathie Hodge's article here shows examples of Gibellula pulchra and Nomuraea atypicola.

Cellar spiders with Torrubiella pulvinata

Pandora phalangicida is a harvestman-specific fungus. Also see Kathie Hodge's photo here.

Grasshoppers and Crickets
Some information about Entomophaga grylli here



True Bugs

Leafhoppers, Planthoppers and Cicadas





Goldenrod Soldier Beetles infected with Eryniopsis lampyridarum

Ladybugs with Laboulbeniales fungi (see more here)

Ants and Wasps

Caddisflies infected with Erynia rhizospora

These two apparently have some other kind of fungus:


Also see the bottom of this page.
Cordyceps militaris on moth pupa:

Caterpillars -- some of these may be killed by a virus or bacterium rather than a fungus:

See Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month page for Entomophthora muscae.

This still-living calliphorid appears to be in the process of succumbing to a fungus:

Snipe flies with Furia ithacensis:

Cordyceps variabilis on Xylophagidae larva:

Some infected fly larvae found in leaf litter:

These millipedes are victims of Arthrophaga myriapodina, described in this paper.

Miscellaneous Arthropods With Afflictions That May Or May Not Be Fungus-related

Images Submitted To This Page That Have Been Determined To Depict Victims Of Something Other Than A Fungus

to me like nothing more than excrement. These spiders simply tilt their abdomens back and go, and this one seems to have had some problems...

Another one.
I'm still not sure of the insect that is in this photo, but I'll take a closer look at it and let you know.

My best guess
Is a caterpillar, or possibly a sawfly. No wings, very stumpy legs. Unfortunately, not a lot of this little guy is visible, and it has become very brittle.

The article above is now updated with all of the images below (except for a few that aren't actually of fungi). Please put any additional images in new comments so I will see them. All of the fungus-ridden flies are here now too, so those that can be identified are free to be moved to their proper taxonomic place. I've already moved those that I was sure about.

Still more candidates for inclusion...
I confess that I spent way more time doing this today than I had intended, but I decided to search on "fungus" and see what else I could turn up. The following posts should probably be reviewed as the fungus was only speculative in some cases...




I've added all of them except for the hornworm. Natalie may well be right about it being a fungus, but I'm not certain.

Laboulbeniales fungi
I think this has got to be the heaviest growth I've seen yet... We should definitely include this one:

More ladybugs with fungi
It seems that Harmonia axyridis is very vulnerable to this type of fungus attack. A few more:

Are spotless ones more susceptible?

And a fly:

A wasp

Was the one at the top attacked by a fungus?

Pretty Extreme Case
I have this story on an old (pre-database) page at MPG showing photos by John Pringle. I hope to carry this forward into our new system at some time.

© John Pringle at MPG

Another of this type
Found in unidentified moths

We really should make a guide page for these.

Here are a few more.

Here's my contribution.

a few more

Spider Fungus

Found on a cedar tree.

My addition...
Here is a rather shriveled caterpillar which I "think" succumbed to a fungal infection.


Confirmation this is fungus would be appreciated before I move these to the fungal page or frass.


I agree with Mark Fox's reaction...
...of confusion. I also agree that it seems more likely to be a fungus than wasp cocoons, but I've never seen those black structures associated with either. I could imagine a fungus having spore-producing structures like that, but I'm not sure. The distribution of the fluff, particularly towards the bottom of the image, would seem to rule out wasp cocoons.

I'm always in favor of hanging on to things like this--you could always move the images here for the time being.

A web site
I just found this while looking for information on the fungus that gives cellar spiders fuzzy knees:
An Electronic Monograph of Cordyceps and Related Fungi
I don't think all arthropod pathogenic fungi are related to Cordyceps, but many are.

This fungus is used in Chinese traditional medicine, though it's now mostly cultured on a plant-based medium rather than on bugs

Here's mine

A few more

Laboulbeniales on ladybugs. Probably there are more.

Syrphid fly

I like the idea of keeping the victims in their proper pages. So this is a good way to have the fungi together somewhere also.
Maybe we could add a tag, such as a comment: "Fungus ridden" to each image, then they would all show up in a search.

Another one

Minute Pirate Bug

Attached to plant seed head by fungus. Bug is dead.

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