Fungus Identification - (Nov/02/2013 )
Hi, I hope I'm posting this in the proper forum. I was wondering if someone could help me identify this fungus. I study myrmecology as a hobby, and have been having this fungus show up a lot on some of my ants after they have died. I brought some dirt back from the Mojave Desert in California a few months ago, and after getting it wet, I noticed a lot of this fungus growing on the leaf litter within it. Ever since, it's been popping up in different places in my apartment. One thing I notice, is that my springtales don't seem to like it at all, unlike most other mold they usually consume very quickly. I have since bought a HEPA filter in hopes to stop the spread of it in my apartment. I tried to do some research on it online, as I don't know much at all about mold and fungus, but I haven't been able to even find an image that looks much like this fungus at all; this is surprising to me since it's so distinct looking (to me anyway). If I get anywhere, I keep ending up at some sort of Aspergillus, could this be correct?
This is the best picture I could get of it. This ant died, and soon after was completely covered in it.
Hmmm, your best bet would be to take it to a mycologist, but even then, there is a good chance that it is an undescribed species, though someone may be able to get it to a genus or family level.
You would probably need to look at the microstructure of the sporangium to get it down to the genus level, but then I'm no mycologist so, take my advice with a grain of salt.
If you have the facilities, sequence the ITS.
Morphological identification can be nearly impossible if you aren't an expert but if you can get some decent microscopy photos I may be able to help. I'm not mycologist s.str. but I had to learn by myself quite a lot in the last few months to describe a couple of new species.
Based on your picture it looks like a insect pathogenic fungus, or at least saprobe. And more than Aspergillus looks like a Zygomycota fungus, e.g. Mucor or Rhizopus.
The picture is not enough to say what it is. Based on this picture, I'd neither agree it's an Aspergillus nor dismiss it as a Zygomycetous fungus.
Thanks guys. I am planning to buy a decent little microscope, and when I do, if this fungus shows up again (thankfully I haven't seen it for a while now), I will get some microscopy pictures.