Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

March 29, 2020

Dead Specimens – Brood II Magicicada from Middlesex County, New Jersey (2013)

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Massospora — Tags: , — Dan @ 10:03 am

Photos of dead specimens from the Brood II Magicicada emergence in Middlesex County, NJ, in 2013.

Brood II Magicada collection from 2013:
Brood II Magicada collection from 2013 2

Brood II Magicada collection from 2013:
Brood II Magicada collection from 2013 2

Comparison of Male and Female Magicicada genitalia:
Comparison of Male and Female Magicicada

Magicicada septendecula female abdomen:
Magicicada septendecula female abdomen

Magicicada septendecim hind wing:
Magicicada septendecim hind wing

Male Magicicada septendecim infected with Massospora cicadina fungus:
Male Magicicada septendecim infected with Massospora cicadina fungus

August 23, 2018

Cordyceps infected Citrus Cicadas

Filed under: Cordyceps,Diceroprocta — Tags: — Dan @ 9:44 am

Here’s another fungi story coming from the WVU Kasson Lab: Cordyceps infected Citrus Cicadas (Diceroprocta apache).

The story goes like this: because of Ed Yong’s article about the Massospora fungus that infects cicadas, someone sent the Kasson Lab photos, and then samples, of Diceroprocta apache (Citrus Cicadas) infected with a different type of fungus: Cordyceps. Looks like the lab is going to study this fungus, and I’m sure they’ll produce a paper.

Ophiocordyceps infected Cicada Killer Wasp

Filed under: Cicada Killer Wasps,Ophiocordyceps — Dan @ 9:02 am

Graduate students at the West Virginia University’s Kasson Laboratory discovered a Cicada Killer Wasp (Sphecius speciosus) infected with Ophiocordyceps (a type of fungi). Ophiocordyceps can also infect cicadas.

July 25, 2018

Discovery of psychoactive plant & mushroom alkaloids in ancient fungal cicada pathogens

Filed under: Massospora — Dan @ 4:22 pm

Many cicada species suffer from fungal pathogens belonging to the genus Massospora. These fungi destroy the reproductive organs of males and cause them to behave like female cicadas — in the case of Magicicada cicadas, they flick their wings instead of singing — and they attempt to mate with other males, thus spreading the fungus.

A new paper has been published titled Discovery of psychoactive plant & mushroom alkaloids in ancient fungal cicada pathogens. Authors: Greg Boyce, Emile Gluck-Thaler, Jason C. Slot, Jason E. Stajich, William J. Davis, Tim Y. James, John R. Cooley, Daniel G. Panaccione, Jorgen Eilenberg, Henrik H. De Fine Licht, Angie M. Macias, Matthew C. Berger, Kristen L. Wickert, Cameron M. Stauder, Ellie J. Spahr, Matthew D. Maust, Amy M. Metheny, Chris Simon, Gene Kritsky, Kathie T. Hodge, Richard A. Humber, Terry Gullion, Dylan P. G. Short, Teiya Kijimoto, Dan Mozgai, Nidia Arguedas, Matthew T. Kasson. You can access it on biorxiv.

This new paper makes discoveries about the fungi.

Abstract:

Entomopathogenic fungi routinely kill their hosts before releasing infectious conidia, but select species keep their hosts alive while sporulating to enhance spore dispersal. Recent expression and metabolomics studies involving host-killing entomopathogens have helped unravel infection processes and host responses, yet the mechanisms underlying active host transmission in insects with Entomophthoralean fungal infections are completely unexplored. Here we report the discovery, through global and targeted metabolomics supported by metagenomics and proteomics, of the plant amphetamine, cathinone, in Massospora cicadina-infected periodical cicadas, and the mushroom tryptamine, psilocybin, in M. platypediae- and M. levispora-infected annual cicadas. The neurogenic activities of these alkaloids provide a hypothetical framework for a chemically induced extended phenotype of Massospora that alters cicada behavior by increasing endurance and suppressing feeding prior to death.

Massospora bae

January 23, 2018

New paper: Massospora cicadina hijacks the sexual signals of periodical cicadas

A new paper, A specialized fungal parasite (Massospora cicadina) hijacks the sexual signals of periodical cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada), has been published by John R. Cooley, David C. Marshall & Kathy B. R. Hill, in Scientific Reports 8, Article number: 1432 (2018).

Read the paper online.

In a nutshell: the fungus infects males and causes them to exactly mimic the mating behavior of female cicadas, thus infected males end up spreading the fungus to uninfected males.

Abstract:

Male periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) infected with conidiospore-producing (“Stage I”) infections of the entomopathogenic fungus Massospora cicadina exhibit precisely timed wing-flick signaling behavior normally seen only in sexually receptive female cicadas. Male wing-flicks attract copulation attempts from conspecific males in the chorus; close contact apparently spreads the infective conidiospores. In contrast, males with “Stage II” infections that produce resting spores that wait for the next cicada generation do not produce female-specific signals. We propose that these complex fungus-induced behavioral changes, which resemble apparently independently derived changes in other cicada-Massospora systems, represent a fungus “extended phenotype” that hijacks cicadas, turning them into vehicles for fungus transmission at the expense of the cicadas’ own interests.

And now, because I need an image for the post: a meme:

Fungus Bae

Cicadas, when infected, are called “salt shakers of doom”. Add that to the meme “Salt Bae”, and the image makes sense.

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