Observation 80118: Cordyceps tuberculata (Lebert) Maire

When: 2011-10-20

Collection location: Berks Co., Pennsylvania, USA [Click for map]

Who: Karen (oldmanofthewoods)

No specimen available

Fungus growing on a moth found in PA. I thought this was something worth sharing with other fungus lovers. I am hoping someone can help ID this strange find.

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44% (2)
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after reading this:
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2013-07-26 16:12:43 PDT (-0700)


I am no closer to understanding what to call what and when. god help us.

By: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)
2013-07-26 06:38:18 PDT (-0700)

Great observation. Great pics and fantastic conversation/lecture/learning tool!

Danny, I agree…
By: Bill (boletebill)
2013-07-26 06:06:45 PDT (-0700)

… about this in the respect that I too don’t know how the new “one fungus one name” rule for nomenclature applies to something like the Cordyceps tuberculata holomorph? Both anamorph and teleomorph are known so when you find the anamorph isn’t it confusing to use the teleomorph name? I am convinced that I find the anamorph here in CT and not the teleomorph but what to call it? I’m still not sure. So whenever I show a slide at a presentation I use both and tell an abbreviated version of the story.

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2013-07-25 22:17:09 PDT (-0700)

I’ve changed my tune with respect to the appropriate naming for this species. The anamorphic stage for C. tuberculata is known, on a plurality of continents, as A. pistillariifrmis/A. sphingum/A. aculeata. All three of those have been synonymized, directly or indirectly (or their synonymy has been hinted at) in various papers, as well as their equivalents in neighboring genera (Isaria, Hymenostilbe, Insecticola, etc.). All three have had C. tuberculata (=Torrubia sphingum, =Akrophytum tuberculatum) listed as their teleomorphic counterparts as well. I know of no single publication which unequivocally designates C. tuberculata the name above all others for these many anamorphs and synonyms, but I have a strong hunch it’s a matter of when, not if.

I’m choosing C. tuberculata as the name to take priority on the basis that the teleomorph-anamorph connection is known, and therefore the teleomorph name wins out. I’ll freely admit that I haven’t read the letter of the naming law to ensure that this is correct, so I leave it open to criticism. I see the value in retaining anamorphic names for when the teleomorph is not known, so, in essence, the anamorphic taxon is all we’ve got, as in Observation 45611.

On the contrary
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-06-14 19:00:53 PDT (-0700)

you’re nowhere near belaboring. The site and its members live for rich conversation and debate of all kinds. Questions needn’t at all be “professional” to be asked or answered. Anyone wanting to learn more about fungi (entomopathogens in particular) is a precious resource to be cultivated, not turned away. There aren’t nearly enough people studying these things.

The use of MO you’ve described is an occasional one, but far from the most interesting. This is as much a place to ID fungus as it is an ongoing discussion of phylogenetics, molecular analysis, ecology, taxonomy, cuisine, textiles, mycological trends of all kinds, what’s up with which season in what part of the world, latest and greatest publications, photography tips, etc. If you want the site’s mission statement in its creators’ own words, just read the Introduction at the top left of the page (http://mushroomobserver.org/observer/intro).

Better than having a private chat with Mrs. Hodge, see if you can’t get here posting here! The more mushroom minds, the better.

By: Bill (boletebill)
2012-06-14 18:29:52 PDT (-0700)

It’s all good, I’m cool, I don’t want to belabor this point or stress people out with my non-professional questions. Thanks for your help. i’ll bounce these questions over to my friend Kathy from Cornell and she’ll, no doubt, have some relevent input about the subject, about which she knows quite a bit. I understand that this site, MO, is mostly about “hey here’s a pic of something I found and I think the name should be this….or what is the name of this thing I found?” And that’s OK too….

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-06-14 13:38:59 PDT (-0700)

in the interest of sparing the site from redundancy, I’d recommend checking out the comment thread at observation 45611 for a crash course in entomopathogens on adult lepidoptera. If you’ve got any questions beyond what’s written there, there’s a good chance they’ll be too over my head for me to answer, but you’re welcome to try.

Thanks Danny.
By: Bill (boletebill)
2012-06-14 13:33:10 PDT (-0700)

I’m in agreement with Danny’s comments about the general nature of the morphology of anamorphs vs teleomorphs in Cordyceps and I was wonderinjg if Cordyceps tuberculata might be a unique case. I find this fungus as illustrated on MO on Copper Underwing moths occationally and it fascinates. The numerous long white projections coming from the moths body seemed more like stromata than synnemata to me as I think of synnemata as small bundles bearing conidiaphores but then again looking with a loupe there were not perithecia in the white projections that I could see. I find it interesting that all the MO obs call these things Akanthomyces and there are NO Cordyceps tuberculata obs on MO. But if you search through web pics for fungus on adult moth you see many of these type of obs called Cordyceps tuberculata. Also interesting is that there are two subspecies of Cordyceps tuberculata and two forms of one subspecies, one form “cristata” that clearly has little crests on the ends of the stroma and so it may well be as Danny suggests that the anamorph blends into the teleomorph gradually. Last question is this: Are there other species of Akanthomyces that are host specific to adult noctuid moths besides A. pistilliiformis? Thanks.

Nice response, Danny
By: Martin Livezey (MLivezey)
2012-06-13 18:11:20 PDT (-0700)

Clearly written. I am sure that helped a lot of us understand a bit more about ‘STRANGE WORLD OF FUNGI’. Very helpful.

re: Bill
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-06-13 16:50:35 PDT (-0700)

Are there conidiospores present or is it the lack of ascospores that lead to a determination of Akanthomyces pistilliiformis rather than Cordyceps tuberculata?

Generally speaking, sexual entomopathogens have one or more pronounced stromata — club-like formations which are usually fertile toward their apices — whereas asexual forms develop either tufts of fuzzy to powedery tissue erupting out from breaks in the exoskeleton of the host, lots of long, thin protrusions (synnemata) borne from a layer of hyphae that blankets the host, or some combination thereof. In my experience, it’s a gestalt thing. It’s worth mentioning that entomopathogens, not unlike other fungi (ie: Xylariales) can have anamorphic and teleomorphic stages present on a single specimen. Sometimes a host will be clearly one or the other, sometimes not. I’m not sure, but I’m willing to bet that some spp. progress from one stage to another, making it all depend on when you happened to observe the specimen.

Also anybody care to comment on how the new rule for nomenclature viz. one fungus one name affects these determinations? Which name takes precedence for these finds, the anamorph or the teleomorph?

As far as I understand, the name described first takes priority (providing it’s valid). I’m still for using both names when appropriate. The latest ICN rule change treats organisms with wildly different macro- and mirco-morphologies too identically for my liking.

I’m curious how to tell the anamorph from the teleomorph here?
By: Bill (boletebill)
2012-06-13 10:12:18 PDT (-0700)

Are there conidiospores present or is it the lack of ascospores that lead to a determination of Akanthomyces pistilliiformis rather than Cordyceps tuberculata?
Also anybody care to comment on how the new rule for nomenclature viz. one fungus one name affects these determinations? Which name takes precedence for these finds, the anamorph or the teleomorph? Just wondering…..

Very interesting find!
By: Martin Livezey (MLivezey)
2012-06-12 17:42:26 PDT (-0700)

Nice photos, too!

By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2011-10-20 19:18:29 PDT (-0700)

An elegant moth-eating fungus.

Created: 2011-10-20 18:54:22 PDT (-0700)
Last modified: 2013-07-25 22:03:30 PDT (-0700)
Viewed: 444 times, last viewed: 2018-06-24 03:56:40 PDT (-0700)
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