Fly Parasitized by fungus
Great Smoky Mountains NP
August 9, 2008
After a lunch stop at a parking area on Clingman's Dome Road during the 2008 Bugguide Gathering, I noticed several dead flies attached to leaves along a trail. The Entomophthora muscae
fungus attacks the fly's internal organs, "saving" the brain for last. Just before the fly succumbs to the fungus it climbs to the top of a leaf. The pale fungus and white "spore cases" can be seen on the fly's abdomen. By causing the fly to climb to the end of a leaf, the fungus has a better chance of spreading its spores to uninfected flies nearby. Oooh, it is almost like a "B" science fiction movie!
Click link to learn more about the complicated life cycle of the fungus life cycle