A fabulous book...

The family Clavicipitaceae may well be the most amazing family in the entire fungal world.  All of its members are obligate parasites.  Some attack plants, some attack animals and some attack fungi. And their fructifications, arising as they do from the corpses of their victims, present a most strange appearance.

It would appear that Japan is the world centre for Clavicipitaceous diversity, since well over 300 species of this family have been reported there.  And, fortunately for the rest of us, two eminent Japanese mycologists, Drs. D. Shimizu and K. Kobayasi,  have spent many years of their lives documenting these strange organisms in a book which must surely be regarded as a great mycological classic.  I was fortunate to be able to obtain a copy of this superb book during my visit to Japan in May-June 2001.

Its title, rendered in English, is "Illustrated Vegetable Wasps and Plant Worms in Colour" (1997) ISBN 4-259-53866-7 [published by the Ie-No-Hikari Association, 11 Funagawara-cho, Ichigaya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162, Japan], but its allure springs not only from the sheer number of taxa considered, but from the hundreds of wonderful full-colour paintings it contains.  Because I think all mycologists need this book in their personal libraries, I am taking the liberty of reproducing several of the paintings on this page.

My recommendation is - Find it. Buy it. Enjoy it. Treasure it.

The first picture (Fig. 4, below) is of Cordyceps minuta, with its white Isaria anamorph
growing on a Hemipteran insect (a true bug).

Next (Fig. 38) is the appropriately named Cordyceps polycephala

The third picture (Fig. 124) is of an apparently undescribed species of Cordyceps arising from a Coleopteran (beetle) larva.

The painting below (Fig. 157) is of another undescribed Cordyceps sp. attacking a Coleopteran (beetle) larva.

Next is Fig 171,  Cordyceps subsessilis, on another Coleopteran.

Now Fig. 198, of a Clavicipitalean anamorph, Tilachlidiopsis nigra, on a beetle.

Now Fig. 210, of Cordyceps myrmecophila on an ant (Hymenoptera)

below is Cordyceps discoideocapitata (Fig. 234) on a dipteran fly.

And finally, Torrubiella mamillata (Fig. 259) on a spider.