Parasitic Fungus in Bullet Ants

Bullet Ant with Cordyceps Fungus -- Public Domain image by James Marchment via Insects Unlocked

This specimen, collected by J.C. Abbott in the Refugio Bartola of Nicaragua, shows a bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) in the later stages of Ophiocordyceps infection. Members of this genus of parasitic fungi, thought until 2007 to be part of the genus Cordyceps, are frequently referred to as the “zombie fungus” for their unique and gruesome life cycles.

Gladiators

My apartment is home to several Pantropical jumping spiders (Plexippus paykulli). I think these guys are adorable, but the new tenant might disagree, so I’m ushering them outside before I move out. After catching this one in a glass, I went to get my camera, and found an ant (Solenopsis invicta?) crawling around in my camera bag, so I threw …