Paecilomyces tenuipes (Gele rupsenzwam (BE) / (Despite some internet-search I could not find the common names in other languages - If anyone can help with them, please let me know) ) is an entomogenous fungus. An entomopathogenic fungus is a fungus that can act as a parasite of insects and kills or seriously disables them. In this case the fungus parasites probably a moth pupa buried under the sand. These fungi usually attach to the external body surface of insects in the form of microscopic spores (usually asexual, mitosporic spores also called conidia). Under permissive conditions of temperature and (usually high) moisture, these spores germinate, grow as hyphae and colonize the insect's cuticle; eventually they bore through it and reach the insects' body cavity (hemocoel). 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 again permissive; usually high humidity is required for sporulation.
Image: Schilde (BE) - 17/09/2010
© Johan Dierckx
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