Tiny terror poses threat to insects

A tropical terror has been detected in Angus parklands that is preying on unwitting arthropods.

The discovery of a dead moth at Crombie Country Park confirmed the presence of a fungus that feeds on insects-from the inside out.

Akanthomyces aculeatus is one of over 700 fungi in the world that feed internally on insects. Although considered tropical, it has also been found as far north as Orkney.

They are happy to claim a variety of insects, including moths, ants, grass-hoppers, hover-flies and spiders. But humans can relax as the fungi pose no threat to people.

In suitable conditions, the fungal spores will germinate on coming into contact with an insect, whether in flight or landing on a surface where spores have settled.

The moth affected at Crombie was a True Lover’s Knot, and is one of over 200 species of moth and butterfly known to inhabit the park.

A moth identification morning will be held on Sunday, August 23, between 10am and noon, when light-traps laid on previous evenings will be opened and the catch catalogued.

Further details are available by contacting the Rangers at Crombie Country Park on (01241) 860360, or e-mail crombiepark@angus.gov.uk