Observation 34005: Cordycipitaceae sensu lato

When: 2010-02-21

Collection location: Kaipara harbour, Auckland, New Zealand [Click for map]

Who: Michael W (Michael Wallace)

No specimen available

This is a parasitic fungus on a spider in the genus Phoroncidia, possibly P. quadrata.

The fruit body is 5mm long by 0.5-0.8mm in diameter and is fruiting directly out the back of the spiders abdomen.

Spores: Elongate ovoid, 8-9 × 4-4.5µm.

Species Lists


Copyright © 2010 Michael W.
Copyright © 2010 Michael W.
Copyright © 2010 Michael W.
Spores at 1000x magnification, scale divisions=1µm.
Copyright © 2010 Michael W.
Although off topic it’s interesting to note how this genus of spider catches it’s prey, it hangs a long thread with sticky globules as if it were fishing, when something becomes caught it drops the line and the victim becomes entangled in all of the droplets, the spider then quickly dro...
Copyright © 2010 Michael W.
You can see how the spider hangs it’s fishing line from one of it’s front legs.

Proposed Names

-1% (2)
Recognized by sight
31% (3)
Recognized by sight
57% (1)
Recognized by sight

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
One of the more spectacular entomopathogenic fungi I’ve laid eyes on.
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2010-05-28 23:54:11 PDT (-0700)

But not one that strikes me as Gibellula, at least macroscopically. I am a far, far cry from an authority on the topic, but poke around for pictures of this genus and you tend to find specimens covered in a pulverous, white layer of tiny capitate protrusions, more or less like what’s linked in the comment before this one.

Having a Cordyceps pro on hand (Spatafora, Evans) for some commentary would be a big help on this one.

Strange indeed,
By: Michael W (Michael Wallace)
2010-02-23 18:16:46 PST (-0800)

It’s legs are all held close to it’s sides except the one it hangs it’s thread trap from, it’s hard to get a really clear image because they are so small, the largest specimens are only up to 2mm in diameter with most being half that size!

I suspect the fungus is a species of Gibellula, the spores are very similar in shape to those found in this observation but a bit larger.

OK, I thought the mushroom was weird…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-02-23 17:43:17 PST (-0800)

but that is the strangest looking spider that I have ever seen. where the heck are it’s legs??!

By: Michael W (Michael Wallace)
2010-02-23 16:18:05 PST (-0800)

Imagine being impaled from the inside by a fungus!
What’s even cooler is that at his age his eye sight is still good enough to find these small guys, he even remembered exactly where it was in the bush and I was able to collect the specimen today:)

ow, that’s gotta hurt!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-02-23 15:04:16 PST (-0800)

yes Michael, please post a photo of an un-fungated host spider, but with this obsie, please.
it can be tough to move freely around the site sometimes, what with all of the (ahem) mushrooming interest.

BTW, very cool that your Dad could recognize the host spider with so few visual clues…at least to our untrained eyes.

Post an obs. of the spider only?
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2010-02-23 08:08:41 PST (-0800)

Nathan are you suggesting posting an obs. of only the spider? And then link it to the obs. of the cordyceps, as two separate obs,? That doesn’t sound right. I mean we don’t post anyother substrate of a mushroom as a separate obs. Like posting an obs. of a tree as the mycorhizal host? Or some species of wood/moss/grass as the substrate?

But still I would be nice to see the spider as part of this obs., just not as a separate obs. That’d be weird, perhaps?

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2010-02-23 04:56:15 PST (-0800)

Are you suggesting that we start posting observations of arachnids (without fungal parasites) on _Mushroom_Observer??

Yes, please add the spider!
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2010-02-23 04:06:20 PST (-0800)

It would be great to have a picture of the host. Adding it to the observation would be fine, but you could also add the name for the spider and then reuse your original image to create another observation of the spider. The second approach would result in the image being marked with both species so people would pick up on the connection. Also the descriptive text would have links to the spider.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2010-02-23 01:35:47 PST (-0800)

I think a photo of the host species would be very appropriate to post with the observation.

By: Michael W (Michael Wallace)
2010-02-23 00:29:53 PST (-0800)

My Dad studies Arachnids and has been studying this genus for quite some time now, he found this unfortunate victim, the specimen was found on a plant where many similar spiders were found, the shape of the abdomen is recognizable and the legs can be seen at the top of the image when blown up, I could post an image of one of the living spiders but it doesn’t show any fungi?

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2010-02-22 21:29:32 PST (-0800)

Wow… How can you identify the “victim” anymore?

Created: 2010-02-22 19:55:46 PST (-0800)
Last modified: 2014-11-07 13:33:05 PST (-0800)
Viewed: 270 times, last viewed: 2018-04-19 01:58:58 PDT (-0700)
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