08 November 2010

Cordyceps militaris/Scarlet Caterpillarclub

Yesterdays foray for the Glamorgan Fungi Group was held at Gethin Wood, not far from Merthyr Tydfil. (O.S. SO 055 035).
Whilst we found lots of fungi there was one in particular that was very exciting. The amazing Cordyceps militaris or Scarlet Caterpillarclub.

The fungus attacks all sorts of insects but this particular cordyceps lives on the dead and buried pupae of caterpillars and moths. It transforms the internal body of the host into mycelium whilst developing and when ready, breaks through the casing. Its fruitbody can reach 5cms long, is slightly bulbous at the tip and covered in tiny scarlet dots.


Barry Stewart said...

Barry, your discovery reminds of a Swansea Uni field trip to Fairwood Common (from memory around SS578931) back in 1997?, when I came across what I assume was this species. I recall Charles being very interested in finding out what the host was. I do remember it was lepidopteran so presumably it was this species? Perhaps Charles' memory is better than mine...

Charles Hipkin said...

Yes I remenber it as Cordyceps militaris and yes it was growing on a buried larva which we presumed was a lepidopteran (which wasn't identified!). Hilary and I also found some Cordyceps near Bryn 2 weeks ago.