Sighting

Gordon Claridge 17 Jun 2017

Zombie ant fungus - Ophiocordyceps nooreniae

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Sighted 24 Nov 2010
12 Outlook Crescent, Vinegar Hill QLD 4343, Australia

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Identifications

  • Gordon Claridge 17 June 2017
    Hypocreales
    (order)
    Taxonomy: Fungi: Ascomycota: Hypocreales
    Gordon Claridge says

    This is a new species of zombie ant fungus: Ophiocordyceps nooreniae. The Bowerbird taxonomic database does not seem to allow identification beyond Order. This species is in the Family Ophiocordycipitaceae. It was published in Fungal Planet 485 – 21 December 2016, p.259 as Ophiocordyceps nooreniae R.G. Shivas, G.F. Claridge & Y.P. Tan, sp. nov. We are grateful to Roger Shivas for his commitment to obtaining the DNA material necessary to classify this new species. Also to David Hughes who first confirmed that this was a zombie ant fungus.

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  • Gordon Claridge 10 October 2017
    Sordariomycetes
    (class)
    Taxonomy: Fungi: Ascomycota: Sordariomycetes
    Gordon Claridge says

    The taxonomy is Class: Sodariomycetes Sub-class :Hypocreomycetidae Order: Hypocreales Family :Ophiocordycipitaceae Genus: Ophiocordyceps. Although this chain can be followed in Atlas of Living Australia it does not appear to exist in Bowerbird.

    1 votes
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Notes

  • Gordon Claridge 17 June 2017
    Tagged With habitat behaviour hosts
    Gordon Claridge says

    This species is currently known from only one location at Vinegar Hill in the Lockyer Valley Region. It was first observed by Hanneke Nooren, after whom the species is named. It has been found on two species of ants: Polyrhachis (Hagiomyrma) lydiae and Polyrhachis (Chariomyrma) cf. hookeri. The presence of two hosts is unusual, as Ophiocordyceps species generally are specific to one ant species. Infection with the fungus causes the ants to climb up plants in the area where the ant species active and fasten its jaws onto the main vein on the underside of a leaf of the Siratro creeper (Macroptilium atropurpureum) after which the ant is unable to release its grip and eventually dies. The fungus then spreads throughout the body of the ant, erupting through joints in the exoskeleton and spreading over the exterior of the body. Spore bearing structures (synnemata) grow downward, frequently from a joint behind the head) reaching a length of 1cm. Spores drop onto live ants below and are able to attach to and penetrate the exoskeleton to infect new ants. The location is unusual because Ophiocordyceps species are usually found in damp and often humid environment - frequently in the tropics. Vinegar Hill is in one of the driest parts of Southeast Queensland.

    2 votes
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