Hostile Haute Couture
This unfortunate tiny weevil has been attacked by an entomopathogenic fungus.
An entomopathogenic fungus is a fungus that can act as a parasite of insects and kills or seriously disables them.
These fungi usually attach to the external body surface of insects in the form of microscopic spores (usually asexual, mitosporic spores also called conidia). These spores germinate, grow as hyphae and colonize the insect’s cuticle; eventually they bore through it and reach the insects’ body cavity. Then, the fungal cells proliferate in the host body cavity, usually as walled hyphae or in the form of wall-less protoplasts (depending on the fungus involved). After some time the insect is usually killed (sometimes by fungal toxins) and new propagules (spores) are formed in/on the insect if environmental conditions are permissive.
Although still alive when this shot was taken, this weevil’s fate is sealed. It has been infected by the fungus which will eventually penetrate its exoskeleton and cause its demise.
It seems weevils in particular are susceptible to instances of body-snatching like this as I have seen this phenomenon in other species before.
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese insects and spiders on my Flickr site HERE……