When: 2007-10-02

Seen at: Earth [Click for map]

Who: Daryl Thompson (woobs)

No specimen available

Thank god humans aren’t parasitized by cordiceps

[admin – Sat Aug 14 01:59:58 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ’Don’t Know’ to ‘Unknown’

Species Lists


Proposed Names

31% (3)
Recognized by sight
-9% (2)
Recognized by sight
-5% (2)
Recognized by sight
Used references: Mains, E. B. “Species of Cordyceps on Spiders.” Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 81.6 (1954): 492-500
57% (1)
Recognized by sight
63% (2)
Used references: João Araújo, Tatiana Sanjuan, Joey Spatafora

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Host genus update
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2016-07-04 15:02:37 CDT (-0500)

Mygale doesn’t exist! Mygalomorphae is one of two family’s which encompass all tarantulas. The probable genus here — and an equally likely candidate for most of the rest of the befungused tarantulas in the species list — is Pamphobeteus.

good to know!
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2016-06-02 14:22:59 CDT (-0500)

I should mention that this observation has since developed into a species list specifically for tarantula-associated fungi:


members of which have been the subject of a number of conversations with entomopathogen specialists over the past few years. The consensus is that these represent one or more members of the Ophiocordyceps caloceroides group; a complex whose individual species are likely closely tied to the species of their hosts.

A few of us have been keeping an eye out for fresh material, particularly since this one is not mature, and it’s the only known herbarium collection. Now that Paul has confirmed it still exists, let’s get it sequenced!

Herbarium specimen exists but not yet at UBC
By: Paul Kroeger (kroeger)
2016-06-02 13:04:22 CDT (-0500)

I have the specimen in my private herbarium, and display it at our Vancouver Mycological Society mushroom shows. Collected and photographed fresh in-situ and hand-held (photos in previous comment posted by Danny Newman 2010-05-29 03:26:00 PDT) by Bryce Kendrick on April 17 2002 in Equador.

C. ignota name update
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2013-07-17 20:24:05 CDT (-0500)

It merits mention that Mains’ description of C. ignota was of dried material, and therefore could have undergone quite a change in color compared to these fresh specimens. Still, the main photo of the ob is also dry, and there is only a duller orange-red, no purple brown. It’s all one big shot in the dark anyway without micro, though the press are starting to pick up on the C. ignota name as though it’s a sure thing:


By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2013-01-31 20:28:26 CST (-0600)

that looks painful.

make that two more
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2013-01-31 16:42:25 CST (-0600)

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2013-01-31 15:49:46 CST (-0600)

I must have not paid any real attention at all to Mains’ description of C. ignota, because 6cm x .5-1.5mm, purple brown ascocarps arising primarily from the legs is, well, not at all what’s seen here. If anything, the Flickr image is a closer match, but those are baby blue and considerably shorter than 6cm in length (immature, perhaps?). curious how they do arise primarily from the legs though…

Joey Spatafora & Tatiana Sanjuan have been contacted. Hopefully they’ll weigh in shortly.

we’ve got another one
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2013-01-31 15:06:35 CST (-0600)

or possibly the same one…

tracking down details and location of material (if any exists). will post back here with more, unless the photographer can be found and he/she makes an ob of his/her own.

all links seem to point back to this one: http://www.reddit.com/...

you could very well be right
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2011-08-08 13:50:26 CDT (-0500)

at one time I thought the flickr one might be the anamorph, but that assertion falls flat on its face without someone being able to look closely at one and/or the other. whoever’s hands it’s in is not present to entertain that request, and the one person I thought I could rely on for more information (or, by the grace of god, a tissue sample) has been non-responsive.

head-scratching aside, it’s nice to revisit this one from time to time. truly a top ten on the site.

same species???
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-08-08 08:38:42 CDT (-0500)

despite the similarity of habitats and genus, the fruit bodies look very different.

Flickr image
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2011-08-07 22:39:07 CDT (-0500)

courtesy of (and copyrighted by) James Christensen @ PrimevalNature.com

thanks walt
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2011-02-08 11:27:41 CST (-0600)

this is truly fascinating.
I am an absolute baby at the thought of spiders. I have no sorrow to offer this little critter!

another picture here
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2011-02-08 10:17:42 CST (-0600)
worth revisiting
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2011-02-08 10:02:14 CST (-0600)

one of the most eye catching and mind catching obs. on MO.

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2010-10-15 03:43:57 CDT (-0500)

Bryce has been emailed to no avail. I fear we will only see microscopy on this or similar specimens when another is discovered in the cloud forests of Ecuador. I’ll promise to keep my eyes open, but finds like these could be once in a lifetime.

Hi Danny Yes I believe that photo is the very same specimen only fresher.
By: Daryl Thompson (woobs)
2010-05-30 19:53:11 CDT (-0500)

It looks as though it was taken in situ. The poor beastie now lies at rest, though it was recently on display, at the New Beaty Biodiversity Museum(beatymuseum.ubc.ca)at the University of British Columbia which houses the Herbarium. Your best bet for more information on this fella would likely be Bryce.

We have more pictures
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2010-05-29 05:26:00 CDT (-0500)

of what looks to be the exact same species, if not the very same specimen.

The author states that he/she collected the specimen in April of 2002 in an Ecuadorian cloud forest, and that the host in question is a member of the Mygale genus. The person most likely responsible for posting this information is Bryce Kendrick, as a brief bio and his contact info are listed elsewhere at mycolog.com. I’m going to email him soon (mycologue@gmail.com) and ask if the specimen still exists somewhere and if any microscopy has been performed.

Thank you Danny, for your renewed interest in this creepy parasite,
By: Daryl Thompson (woobs)
2010-01-28 22:16:18 CST (-0600)
rendering an otherwise notorious creature to such a pathetic form. The specimen is in the herbarium at the University of British Columbia, but who to do the microscopy? I’m not qualified and I don’t know who is or could take the time, and as Bryce mentioned the ascomata were not mature when it was found. Unless a lucky chain of events should occur, we will just have to speculate.
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2010-01-28 12:29:53 CST (-0600)

Arachnion are gilled mushrooms, so that info was a complete bust. Looking at as much arachno-pathogenic fungi literature as I can find to at least contribute a genus name. So far, Torrubiella and Gibellula have come up, but their morphology doesn’t jive with this specimen according to all the pictures and descriptions I’ve seen.

The most promising find so far in my search is something E. B. Mains called Cordyceps ignota in the following publication:

Species of Cordyceps on Spiders
Author(s): E. B. Mains
Source: Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 81, No. 6 (Nov. – Dec., 1954), pp. 492-500
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2481945

Cordyceps ignota March. Physis 20: 17. 1945. (Figs. 6-8). Ascocarps simple or branched, sldner, up to 6 cm. long. terete or somewhat compressed below, 0.5-1.5mm. thick, acuminate at the apices, purplish brown, minutely punctate above from the ostioles of the perithecia; perithecia very crowded in a compact layer on the upper third of the ascocarps, imbedded in a slight, loose stroma, ovoid, 100-140 × 60-75 µ; asci narrowly elevate, 70-100 × 4 µ, the wall thin, thickened at the apices; ascospores immature.

On a large spider (Theraphoridae), Argentina, A Ibarra Grasso, Oct. 16, 1944, type, in the Herbarium of the Division of Fitopathologia, Ministerio de Agricultura, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Through the kindness of Jorge Wright the type of this species was loaned for this study. The ascocarps are very long and slender and arise mostly from the legs of the host (fig. 6). Mature ascospores were not seen. They are described by Marchionatto as filiform, 59-61 × 2 µ and continuous. It is probable that when mature the ascospores are multiseptate and do not break down into fragments. The perithecia are very small and are very closely crowded together with only a small amount of a loose stroma between them (figs. 7 and 8).

Index Fungorum has a reference under this name (http://www.indexfungorum.org/...) it does not recognize this taxon as current.

Where oh where are Joey Spatafora or Harry Evans when you need them???

This cordyceps
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2009-12-12 03:02:58 CST (-0600)

almost knocked me out of my seat the very first time I laid eyes on it. It was on Flickr first at the previously mentioned link, where it drew just as many ’ooh’s, ’aah’s, dropped jaws and crooked glances.. Whispers of a genus called Arachnion have found their way to my ears; an apparently arachnid-specific entomopathogenic genus of fungi. I am going to look into this some more. Of course, whoever has this in their possession is in the absolute best position to look into it some more. We demand microscopy!

Bryce Kendrick said the spider was from Ecuador and of the genus Mygale.
By: Daryl Thompson (woobs)
2009-07-25 00:05:46 CDT (-0500)

He suspects the fungus was a Cordyceps, although the compund ascomata were not mature when he found it.

I suspect it was found in Costa Rica, was brought back to Vancouver and is in a private collection.
By: Daryl Thompson (woobs)
2009-07-04 13:31:36 CDT (-0500)

When? I don’t know yet. I am still waiting on a reply from the one who has all the answers. Be patient.

the date sez 2007, not 2009…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-07-03 10:33:44 CDT (-0500)

this could be an old dried sample…but I imagine it didn’t “show up” with an accurate collection date anyway (or place of origin, apparently!) ;)

and Daryl, if you took that photo of our dearly departed tarantula in a petri dish, an herbarium specimen must exist somewhere…

Oh yeah, sorry! I either got the date wrong or it hasn’t been found yet.
By: Daryl Thompson (woobs)
2009-07-03 00:31:44 CDT (-0500)

Thanks for the continued interest in this remarkable specimen, I’m still waiting on the owner to get back to me with more details.

Don’t think we made it to Oct. 2 yet…
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2009-07-02 19:09:47 CDT (-0500)

Might want to amend that When Found date.

This is VERY cool
By: Tom Volk (TomVolk)
2009-06-24 15:56:45 CDT (-0500)

scary for the spider too. I’d love to hear more about it.

NIce(!), Cathy; definitely cordyceps, but apparently a whole nuther critter…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-06-22 10:25:11 CDT (-0500)

thin green fruit bodies don’t really correspond to those amazing reddened and flattened candelabras of death! It does make you sorry for both of those poor giant hairy venomous spiders tho…

Something like it…
By: Kathie Hodge (fungal)
2009-06-22 10:00:05 CDT (-0500)

I stumbled across another dead tarantula on flickr today. This one’s from Ecuador:

OK, OK, give me a week and I’ll try to find out more about it!
By: Daryl Thompson (woobs)
2009-06-17 22:04:34 CDT (-0500)
Cordyceps sp. !!
By: Kathie Hodge (fungal)
2009-06-17 19:31:00 CDT (-0500)

Oh my God! Where did this come from?? It is terrifying.

Wow wow
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2009-06-17 07:03:12 CDT (-0500)

a really really creepy one this!!!

Yes it is a tarantula
By: Daryl Thompson (woobs)
2009-06-16 23:34:18 CDT (-0500)

I took the photo, I believe someone gave it to Paul Kroeger and he brought to a Vancouver Mycological Society meeting.

who took this shot?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-06-16 23:14:03 CDT (-0500)

looks like a tarantula.

Created: 2009-06-16 23:11:08 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2016-06-02 15:32:20 CDT (-0500)
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