Friday, June 5, 2015

Cordyceps - Killer Fungi



Cordyceps gunnii or ‘Dark Vegetable Caterpillar, is an interesting fungi with a fascinating story. I came across some today at the Lang Lang Primary School Arboretum.

(Click on images for a larger view)


Apparently there are about 400 species of cordyceps. C. gunnii is usually found in association with acacias and I found dozens of them today under some wattles. A few were growing in the middle of the track.


Cordyceps fungi are parasitic fungi that use insects or their larvae for their host. (Use this link to view a short and fascinating David Attenborough video about a cordyceps that uses live ants as its host)


Cordyceps gunnii grow from a host caterpillar below the ground. This one was just beginning to emerge through the surface.



I partly dug away some of the loose topsoil to a depth of nearly 450mm and still hadn’t reached the caterpillar corpse.



In some cultures, cordyceps are used for various medicinal and aphrodisiac applications. Don’t think I’ll give it a whirl.
Gouldiae

2 comments:

  1. Do you always carry a shovel when walking or did you have a nearby terrier to do the excavation as reported in the last section?

    Martin

    ReplyDelete
  2. G'day Martin,
    Nice soft sandy loam. When I turned up at the bakery for a cuppa shortly after, my hands were filthy!
    PW

    ReplyDelete