Thursday, September 25, 2008

Death at Calamus Avenue


A gruesome murder along the jungle trail....

Synopsis of crime : The accused is a species of Cordyceps, a parasitic fungus, that had infected a blow fly some days/weeks back. Slowly, its mycelial filaments had spread into the internal organs and suck the fly dry. But the depleted zombie fly must complete one last act before it was allowed to RIP . By not injesting the vital muscles for movement and manipulating the nervous system of its host, the fungus drove the fly to stagger towards the direction of bright light, in this case an elevated stem of a Rattan (Calamus sp), before pulling the final trigger, destroying the brain and locking its host eternally in a characteristic rigor mortis with limbs and wings outstretched. In this way, its fruiting body, which then sprout from the cadaver as shown in the photo, will be unhindered and free to release the spores at a high and exposed location to effect greatest distribution of its progeny.

Verdict: Guilty of murder and body snatching.

While many may be familiar with the expensive Chinese panacean Cordyceps sinensis, there are actually more than 400 species of this mostly tropical insect-eating fungi. This one is found in Catchment area in Singapore

Post note: The Cordyceps appear to be Ophiocordyceps dipterigena. I had initially thought that the host was a bee.

6 comments:

Hermes said...

Grusome but all part of nature's rich pattern of diversity.

Rowena said...

So morbidly fascinating that I have nothing to say except *wow*! I did google a bit more on the subject and am taken by the caterpillar fungus. Amazing photo for this post!

Hort Log said...

Here r more pics of this interesting fungi:

http://www.mycolog.com/Clavicipitaceae.htm

Hon E said...

Awesome man....good shot too

julian said...

Wow that's gruesome! Great photo and explanation though :)

Dennis ll said...

weird scince and very entertaining, and very good photo of the subject in the wild. Thanks

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