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Hi Cathal, it might be Entomophthora fungus.
Chris Brooks - www.dragonfly-images.co.uk
My Flickr site - www.flickr.com/photos/ceb1298
Thanks Chris, I wondered about fungus but then thought it might be more likely to be a parasite as other fungus affected things I'd seen had white fungal growth on the outside of the insect. I dont really know anything about these things but I see a lot of insects killed in this way, probably mistakenly thinking its due to a parasites much of the time. Cheers Chris.
It looks like one of the Entomophthora fungi, perhaps Entomophthora muscae.
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Its really weird how the insect becomes fastened in situe. Is it usually due to a fungus or is it sometimes a parasite that has flies glued to the spot?
The fungus manipulates the fly to change its perching site, body posture and orientation on the plant all to aid efficient spore dispersal.
Thanks for this Mark, where does the fugus come from in the first place, does the insect ingest it to begin with?
The spores are forcibly ejected from the parent fungus and I think they just come to rest on the outside of any host species that might be in range. The spore then germinates and penetrate the insect's cuticle. My knowledge is probably very out of date but I not sure if E.muscae is one or several species. Although it looks the same behavioural changes differ. Wings usually spread latero-dorsally in houseflies, latero-ventrally in dungflies. Sometimes called E. scatophaga in dungflies.
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