Drhoz! (drhoz) wrote,

#1511 & 1512 - An insect-sucking fungus and a fungus-sucking insect

#1511 - Beauveria sp.

Photo by Wayne Boatwright, of a longicon beetle killed by a fungus.

The genus was named after Jean Beauvarie, a french mycologist. B. bassiana, the best-known species, is named after Agostino Bassi, who was studying muscardine disease in silkworms in the 19th century, proved it was caused by a fungus, and incidentally the first demonstration of the germ theory of disease.

Beauvaria is asexually reproducing - there is a sexually-reproducing stage, but those are called Cordyceps where known. Fungal taxonomy can be weird like that, largely because it can be so difficult to connect the asexual form to the sexual form. Until molecular biology became widespread, most fungi had different names for the two forms. As of 2013, the rule is now ‘one fungus, one name’, so there are a lot of revisions in the pipeline. 

An infected insect or arachnid becomes increasingly sluggish and ill as the fungus thickens and crystallises its haemolymph, and secretes toxins. Once the host is killed, the fungus erupts from the thinner parts of the cuticle, dehydrating and sometimes mummifying the corpse, and forming a white layer of fungal conidia hardened with oxalate crystals. 

#1512 - Aneipo diva

Photo by Ned Fisher, at Bingil Bay, in coastal North Queensland.

 “Hey guys! I originally thought this was a moth but I’m not so sure after having a closer look. Any help with an ID would be greatly appreciated! Its roughly 2-3cm long and was attracted to lights at night.”

I would have thought it was a moth too, until I noticed the upward-staring eyes and the stubby, club-shaped antennae.

 If this species is anything like other better-known Achilid Planthoppers, the young are fungus feeders found under dead bark, and the adults feed on plants and most likely a gymnosperm rather than a flowering plant. Of course, so little is known about most Australian insects that that could be completely wrong. 

There are four species known species of Aneipo - ceres (southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales), diana  (north Queensland) and minerva (New South Wales), and diva from the wet coastal tropics of Queensland.

Tags: blobs with no bones in, coleoptera (beetles), funguuz, hemiptera (true bugs), parasite
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.