T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Isaria sinclairii (Vegetable cicada)

Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Hypocreales
Family: Clavicipitaceae
Genus: Isaria
Species: I. sinclairii
Binomial name: Isaria sinclairii
Synonyms: Cordyceps sinclairii, Torrubia caespitosa,
Common name: Vegetable cicada

Isaria sinclairii is an entomopathogenic fungus of buried cicada larva.
It is found in native forests during autumn. Its spores attack insects, including cicada larvae. The fungus feeds on the nymph’s insides until it completely fills its body cavity. After the larvae die beneath the soil surface the fungi then send a stalk (40mm high) up from the surface. The stalk is topped with white spore-bearing structures which release powdery white spores. These spores fall to the ground ready to infect other cicada nymphs.
This fungus has yielded new prescription drug for multiple sclerosis. This fungus produces myriocin, from which the synthetic drug Fingolimod (trade name Gilenya) which has immunosuppressive properties. This was the first oral disease-modifying drug for multiple sclerosis.

See article on this prescription drug for multiple sclerosis

White spores visible bottom right.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/