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Image typeJPEG
Cordyceps sinensis (JPEG)

Cordyceps sinensis (JPEG)

Collected from the Tibetan Plateau in November of 2012, these are examples of a fungus, Cordyceps sinensis (latterly known as Ophiocordyceps sinensis) that is parasitic on insects and other arthropods. Once infected, the fate of the host is gruesome to say the least, with the fungus feeding and growing on its tissues. The host eventually dies and soon after, a long, infectious fruiting body emerges from the head as shown in the image. Cordyceps is highly-valued, particularly in Chinese medicine, where it is used to treat a variety of complaints. See:

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/06/gold-rush-nepal-himalayan-viagra-2014620955981588.html