centuryplant: A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Default)
[personal profile] centuryplant
A fly killed by the fungus Entomophthora muscae (side view)

I noticed this fly poised at the tip of a twig and went to see if I could get a picture before it flew off. After a few shots, I realized it wasn't going anywhere. The fly had succumbed to an infection by the fungus Entomophthora muscae, which causes its victims to climb to a high place and adopt a stereotyped posture before dying in a shower of spores. The fungus even chooses the time of death: late evening, so the spores don't dry out in the heat of the day.

Some of the white spores are still stuck to the fly's bristles, and I believe the wide raised ridges on its abdomen are a result of swelling as the fungus grew inside it.

A fly killed by the fungus Entomophthora muscae (back view)
A fly killed by the fungus Entomophthora muscae (front view)

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centuryplant: A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Default)
centuryplant

August 2013

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