Insect pathogens

A number of fungi kill insects. The ones treated here form large, distinctive fruiting bodies above the surface of the dead insect larvae.


NameImageDescriptionNZFungi Entry


Members of this genus are popularly known as ”vegetable caterpillars” due to their parasitic habit on insect larvae, including some caterpillar species. Fruiting bodies are mostly club-shaped, broad or elongate, depending on the species. They are always derived from an insect host, although the host may be buried in soil. Fruiting bodies are usually dark coloured and camouflaged against the fore...


These develop masses of powdery white spores on short stalks above the killed insect. The most common and distinctive species in New Zealand is Isaria sinclairii, common in the North Island on parasitised cicada larvae. The dead larvae are typically buried in the soil, where only the white tuft of spores is visible.