“Cordyceps s.s. consists almost entirely of pallid to brightly colored species that produce soft fleshy stromata (e.g., C. militaris). The majority of species attack larvae and pupae of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera in leaf litter, moss or upper soil layers. Numerous species that produce highly reduced stromata, loosely organized hyphae, or a subiculum on the host also occur in this genus (e.g. C. tuberculata), some of which were previously classified in Torrubiella (e.g., T. confragosa).
Elaphocordyceps includes all species that parasitize Elaphomyces and closely related species that attack nymphs of cicadas. The morphology of the Elaphomyces parasites and the cicada pathogens are remarkably similar and attest to the recent history of inter-kingdom host-jumps in a common subterranean environment (Nikoh & Fukatsu 2000). The exception to this genus is E. subsessilis, which macroscopically and ecologically is distinct from the rest of the species, but is well supported as being a member of the genus based on molecular data and micromorphology.
Metacordyceps includes only a limited number of described species, of which all but one is known from East Asia. The stromatal color of fresh specimens ranges from white (e.g., M. yongmunensis) to lilac, purple or green, and the darker pigments are almost black in dried specimens (e.g., M. taii). The texture of the stromata is fibrous and not fleshy like Cordyceps s. s., and the hosts are almost always buried in soil.
Ophiocordyceps is the largest genus of arthropod pathogenic fungi. Many species are darkly pigmented and occur on immature stages of hosts buried in soil (e.g., O. sinensis) or in decaying wood (O. variabilis). Notable exceptions exist for both of these traits among species that attack adult stages of hosts, however. For example, O. unilateralis is common on adult ants and occurs on the under sides of leaves, and O. sphecocephala is common on adult wasps and is found in leaf litter. Stromatal morphology is diverse, ranging from filiform and wiry to clavate and fibrous, according to species, and many species produce their perithecia in nonterminal regions of the stroma, either distinctly superficial, or in broad irregular patches, or in lateral pads."
Cordycipitaceae Kreisel ex G.H. Sung, J.M. Sung, Hywel-Jones & Spatafora, in Sung, Hywel-Jones, Sung, Luangsa-ard, Shrestha & Spatafora, Stud. Mycol. 57: 48 (2007)