Summit Disease Revisited, Warning Graphic!

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

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Ken Ramos
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Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

Summit Disease Revisited, Warning Graphic!

Post by Ken Ramos »

A couple of images of this hopper were posted in Macro under the heading Just a Shell of Its Former Self I suspected that this insect had indeed succumbed to Summit Disease but was unsure and never gave it a second thought until Doug, beetlman, suggested the same. It has been cold and rainy here for the past couple of days, so I ventured not out to retrieve the subject for further examination. However, today is a bit warmer and we have plenty of sunshine, so I went back out this morning and brought the insect in to take a look at it through the Meiji stereomicroscope. :)

Image
Image

As you can see, the results of the disease are not very pretty, as seen in these shots of the head of this, what I now think was, a grasshopper or maybe something akin to. Notice the spikes rising from the eyes and along the legs. At first I believed these to be just part of the insects anatomy until I viewed them under the scope. These are more than likely spore bearing structures that are now dehiscent, having released the spores into the wind :shock:

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This last image is where the legs join the abdomen of the hopper. Here to spikes or spore bearing structures rise from the joint(s) This is one disease out of many that I would not even imagine contracting, even though there are many others that afflict mankind that are just as grusome. This really looks like something out of science fiction rather than science fact. All photographs taken through the Meiji EMZ-13TR @ various levels of magnification, none exceeding 20X (FOV 10mm @ 20X, 21 mm @ 10X) :)

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

WOW Ken...Amazing photos. I thought those spiky things in your macro photos were part of the insect also. Really gruesome followup and investigation. I just can`t get over those spore spikes :shock: :shock:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

What fascinates me about these pictures is that I don't get any sense that the spikes are protruding through the insect's integument. It's like they're just a part of it. Very zen-like: ...and the insect and the spikes were as one. :shock:

Great photos, Ken. :smt023

--Rik

Ken Ramos
Posts: 7208
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:12 pm
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

Post by Ken Ramos »

Rik replied:
What fascinates me about these pictures is that I don't get any sense that the spikes are protruding through the insect's integument. It's like they're just a part of it.
This is what threw me off when I first photographed the hopper and I now do believe it was once a hopper after doing a little more research on Summit Disease. It seems that there are variations to the disease and one is particulary prone to infecting grasshoppers. It does look as though the spore bearing structures are part of the hoppers anatomy, however, the closer I looked at, what I can only regard as a hypothallus, it appears as though they are not. Somewhat similar I think to the fruiting bodies of myxomycetes.

Doug replied:
I just can`t get over those spore spikes
Me neither Doug, something nightmares or terrors could develop from if you were to dwell on the possiblity that they may have infected you while investigating them. If, perhaps, I disappear from the forums, look for me on the evening news hanging from the Empire State fending off F/A 18 Hornets and Apache helios, with numerous spikes extending from my torn flesh. Got to get those spores into the wind you know! :shock:

Thanks guys :D

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