Fungal parasites in Oak Bushcrickets Meconema thalassinum
On 4th September 2012 I collected two female Oak Bushcrickets Meconema thalassinum from Grafton Wood. They were found about five meters apart on a sunny ride, each located on the underside of a leaf about a metre from the ground. On inspection they were both in perfect condition but totally immobile. Suspecting an internal parasite to be responsible I placed them in a collecting box for further observation. On returning home I found that a fungus had erupted from both specimens making them almost unidentifiable (Fig. 1.). It appears they had been parasitised by a fungus. I sent details to the Orthoptera Recording Scheme and received the following response from Helen Roy of CEH “It looks like an entomopthoralean fungus - a species specific fungus - the way it has adhered the insect to the leaf surface is very characteristic. For identification the conidia (spores) need to be assessed but I will forward to a European expert for further comment. Great find!”
I’ve seen rows of hoverflies and dungflies on grassheads in the past and suspected fungal parasites but had not realised that the fungus had actually glued them in place!
1. Oak bush-cricket attcked by fungus. Gary Farmer