A Fungus and a Paper Wasp (sitting in a tree), 20 September 2015

Ophiocordyceps endoparasitoid fungi (and)
Mischocyttarus mexicanus cubicola, a neotropical paper wasp;
Volusia county, Florida (20 Sep. 2015).
Learn more about Ophiocordyceps and M. mexicanus cubicola at iNaturalist.org.

A fairly awesome find in my backyard, here we have a endoparasitoid fungi (likely a species of Ophiocordyceps but possibly Cordyceps) hijacking and using the biological system of a paper wasp for its own purposes. Zombification (so to speak)!

The Mischocyttarus identification was offered on iNaturalist by Jonathan Hoskins, a graduate student at UT San Antonio (a paleontologist and taxonomist with a keen interest in wasps and oysters!); I had originally flagged the wasp incorrectly as genus Polistes. [Updated Monday 08 July 2019]

I’m still shopping around for verification or correction with the fungus identification. Note to self: Ophiocordyceps sphecocephala is known to hit papers wasps.

Additional Photos of the Same Bio-Event:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: