Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fungal Fly Photos

Throughout the summer it's not uncommon to encounter flies infected with the Entomophthora muscae fungus. The parasite doesn't merely consume the body of its host indiscriminately, it grows into specific areas of its brain to control the insect's behaviour, and before its demise the fly will climb to the greatest elevation possible in order to maximize spore dispersal.

When I chanced across this Greenbottle Fly I had the good fortune to have access to a digital microscope, and took advantage of the opportunity to capture images in more detail than is possible with a digital camera. Some of the images were taken by Laurie Campbell.

Not pretty pictures, but nature doesn't care about our human sensibilities.

Views of the greenbottle fly's head ...

... the abdomen, and the thorax.

This is the greatest magnification possible to achieve with the instrument.