William C. Beckerson Curator

Joined: Mar 26, 2019 Last Active: Jun 17, 2024 iNaturalist

As a fungi enthusiast, my goal is to get other as excited about Ophiocordyceps as I am. These parasitic fungi, also known as the "Zombie Fungus", infect many species of insects globally, and while they typically go unnoticed, their life style is nothing short of amazing. In particular, I am interested in Ophiocordyceps that infect carpenter ants and secrete mind-altering substances that cause their hosts to behave in a way that is optimal for dispersal of fungal spores. Infected ants leave their nests, seek higher ground, latch onto their substrate with their mandibles (aka THE DEATH GRIP), and then the fruiting body of the fungus erupts from the ants head and spreads its spores to the unsuspecting ants below! With this platform, I hope to foster connections with the public and other scientists to help advance our understanding about the diversity of these marvelous organisms. Check out our iNaturalist Project page the Zombie Fungus Foray, or our website at https://wcbeck01.wixsite.com/thezombiefungusforay for more information!

View All