A recent post on BugGuide brought to my attention to a group of fungi known as Laboulbeniales that infect insects. I knew I had seen these before, but I had never really paid them much attention. Sorting through some Carabidae I had collected this summer, I noticed one of the strange growths on the elytron of a Clivina americana. After posting an image of this beetle to BugGuide, I continued sorting the sample. To my surprise, I found the fungal hyphae on a large number of specimens. Once I had seen the first, they became fairly easy to spot (despite all the moth scales floating around in the alcohol).
I contacted the author of the Laboulbeniales post, Danny Haelewaters, now a doctoral student at the Farlow Herbarium, Harvard University. He is studying Laboulbeniales fungi, so I’ll be sending the specimens to him for his research.
The Carabidae that appeared infected included Clivina americana, Perigona nigriceps, Elaphropus xanthopus, Acupalpus partiarius, Acupalpus indistinctus, Bradycellus rupestris, Stenolophus lecontei, and Stenolophus ochropezus. There were also infected Homaeotarsus cf. bicolor (Staphylinidae) and Melanophthalma sp. (Latridiidae).
Below are images of some infected beetles (Homaeotarsus, Melanophthalma, Elaphropus xanthopus, and Stenolophus ochropezus):