Cornell University

animal disease

Ladybug Fungi

They may be taking over the world, but they have problems too: They have an itch they can’t scratch. Their dead wear fur coats. They nuke their competitors with poisonous blood. Multicolored Asian ladybugs are host to three different fungi. They’re all bizarre and interesting, but if you are a ladybug, you will have a clear favorite.

Rear view of the salt shaker

Flying salt shakers of death

Poetry and dirt inspired Angie Macias to explore buzzy, hummy cicadas. And the fungi that live to eat them. They are butt-devouring species of the fungus Massospora– coming to your backyard this summer!

A platypus!

Bully for the Platypus

Tasmanian platypuses are coming down with a fungal disease of late. It’s caused by a fungus previously only found sickening amphibians. A platypus is a strange and baffling creature, and so is this fungus, Mucor amphibiorum.

Spiral, by Paul McEuen

Fictional mycology

This week a fictional fungal villain is making life at Cornell pretty surreal. Paul McEuen’s new thriller, Spiral, has just been released, and not only is it set here, at Cornell, in Ithaca, and inside my Herbarium, it features a heroine who is inspired partly by, um, me!

Peregrine falcon

Of Fungus and Falcons

Sometimes I think fungi in the genus Aspergillus just have more get-up-and-go than other fungi. Some are good, and sure, some are evil — you just have to admire their audacity. Turns out one particular Aspergillus is a notorious enemy of birds, and can even take down a powerful raptor like a hawk or falcon in a matter of days. Read on for more about falconry and fungi in this post by Abby Duvall.

Percy the cat

Ringworm in Cats: Percy’s Case

Old and well-loved cats get infections sometimes. Here is the story of Percy, a cat who has battled several different attackers in the last little while: two fungi, a mystery cat, a virus, and a bacterium. He even generously shared one of them with his human family. But don’t worry, they’re all OK now.


Puffballs ate my mulch

In which a prodigious colony of puffballs consumes my pile of mulch. Yesterday I walked by them at the tail end of a downpour. The last raindrops were generating little snorts of spores like dragon smoke. Go ahead, give them a stomp or two, but don’t inhale puffball spores in excess, people, it will not end well.

unsuspecting caterpillar

Entomophaga maimaiga – The caterpillar killer

Since we’d rather not let gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves off entire forests, we’re pretty happy about Entomophaga maimaiga, a fungus that attacks them. In this post we take a close-up, time lapse look at the devouring of a caterpillar by a fungus that is an effective agent of biological control.

lost dog

A veterinary detective story

Since dogs can’t talk very well, it’s often difficult to figure out what’s making them sick. We recently told you about Shiloh, a beautiful dog who died of mushroom poisoning apparently caused by Galerina mushrooms. Now Shiloh’s Veterinarian, Dr. Carolyn Orr, speaks about her role in determining the cause of Shiloh’s rapid decline.


Most people don't pay much attention to fungi, which include things like mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildews. Here at Cornell we think they're pretty fascinating. In fact, even the most disgusting foot diseases and moldy strawberries are dear to our hearts. We'd like to talk to you about fungi, so that like us, you too can tell gross stories at the dinner table. Afterwards, maybe you'll notice some things you would have overlooked before, and we think this could be good for the planet.

Kathie T. Hodge, Editor

Beneath Notice, our book of borescopic mycology.


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