Submitted by AJ Cann on Mon, 01/04/2019 - 08:53
    Bembidion with Laboulbenia

    We're looking for specimens of insect-eating fungi. More...

    Fungi can eat just about anything, as you'll know if you've ever been lucky enough to have a fungal infection. Most of the time this works to our advantage as they are major decomposers, breaking down dead animal and plant tissue and recycling the nutrients. Being very good at their job, they don't always wait until the the organism the tissue comes from is dead! Fungal infections of plants are common but insects also suffer. We currently only have one entomophagic (insect eating) fungus listed on NatureSpot, Entomophthora muscae, but there are many others.

    Among the most common are Laboulbenia species. These fungi are Ascomycetes which are ectoparasites (external) of arthropods, especially beetles and flies. Members of this genus show a high level of host specificity. They cause relatively little damage to their hosts. The genus contains around 600 species worldwide and they're not too difficult to identify with a good microscope and some knowledge. We currently have no records of Laboulbenia species, but this is where eagle-eyed (Osprey-eyed?) NatureSpotters can help. Geoffrey Hall requests that if you spot an insect with what looks like one of these external parasites on it that you contact him and he will attempt to identify it from a specimen:
    More information: Laboulbenia Species; Fungi Analogous To Athlete’s Foot: