How to identify a cockchafer May bug, Natural History Museum

How to identify a cockchafer May bug

It isn’t actually a bug and doesn’t only fly in May, but the UK’s В largest chafer beetle is easy to spot.

Seen for the first time, an adult cockchafer, or May bug, can cause a bit of a stir and people can be worried by them.

But Stuart Hine from the Museum’s Identification and Advisory Service (IAS), who is often asked by the public to identify them, confirms that they most certainly don’t sting.

‘They have a segment called the pygidium at the end of their abdomen, which is long and pointed,’ Hine said. ‘It looks vicious but is actually a tool for females to lay eggs into the ground.’

Adult cockchafers are one of the top enquiries to the IAS during May. ‘We would usually expect to get 100 or more calls from people wanting to know what this peculiar creature is,’ said Hine.

Cockchafers, Melolontha melolontha, are relatively large beetles belonging to the scarab family. Adults are 2.5-3cm long, and are common in the south of England and the Midlands. The name cockchafer means ‘big beetle’ in Old English.

Although one of their common names is the May bug, if climate conditions are right, adult cockchafer beetles are often seen flying in April.

Museum Coleoptera Curator Beulah Garner said a warm spell will bring them out early.

She said, ‘They’ve certainly been seen in April this year around the country.’

Cockchafers have whitish triangles on their sides, hairy bodies, reddish-brown wing cases that meet in the middle and orange fan-like antennae.

Noisy neighbours

Adult cockchafers only live for about 5 or 6 weeks. During that time, they look for a mate and fly into the tree tops to feed on leaves. They fly at dusk on warm evenings, making a noisy hum, and are attracted to light.

‘They sometimes mistake chimney stacks for tree tops and occasionally fall down chimneys into open fireplaces,’ Hine said. ‘Then after dark, they are attracted to light and can get caught in lamp shades.’

Not bugs

Although they are known as bugs, cockchafers are not true bugs, which belong to another group of insects that includes shield bugs, water bugs, aphids and scale insects.

True bugs that can fly have wings that usually overlap when folded, instead of meeting in a mid-line as cockchafer wings do.

Life underground

Cockchafers spend most of their lives (three to four years) underground as larvae, or grubs. The grubs are white and C-shaped with six legs and reddish-brown heads.

They can be larger than the adults, growing to up to 4cm and are a food source for owls and bats.

Grubs eat the roots of a variety of plants and in large numbers can become pests damaging pastures and crops.

Summer chafer

Another common species to look out for is the summer chafer, Amphimallon solstitialis. This is a smaller species that usually emerges at the beginning of June and is common around the date of the summer solstice, 21 June.

‘It does pretty much the same thing,’ Hine said. ‘It flies around tree tops, nibbles leaves as adults and eats roots below ground as a larva. It is also prone to falling down chimneys.’

www.nhm.ac.uk

Common cockchafer

This handsome chap is the Common cockchafer, also referred to as the May bug, the Spang beetle or the Billy witch. These beetles usually appear around late April – early May and can frequently be seen and heard flying into lit windows and even lamps indoors!

Fast Facts

Latin name: Melolontha melolontha

Notable feature: Unusual fanned antennae

Rarity in the UK: Rare / Common

Where in the UK: Widely distributed

Common cockchafer males can easily be distinguished from the females by counting the number of ‘leaves’ on their remarkable antler-like antennae, males sport seven ‘leaves’ while females have only six. These leafy antennae can detect pheromones, enabling males to find females even in the dark!

Lifecycle

Life begins as an egg laid around June – July, hatching into a white grub which lives underground. Grubs can spend 3 years underground (up to 5 years in colder climates) until they pupate. As grubs they munch on roots and tubers until they reach around 4cm. This is the point when they pupate, emerging as an adult beetle (or imago) in the spring. They live as adults for a mere six weeks during which time the female can lay as many as 80 eggs.

Cockchafers were once highly abundant until pesticide use in the mid 20th Century almost obliterated them. Thankfully they have been making a come-back since the 1980’s with the regulation of pesticides.

Off with your head!

The larvae are considered to be an agricultural nuisance since they can be highly destructive to crops. Before agricultural intensification these beetles were especially problematic, so much so that adults were caught and killed to break the life cycle, in 1911, more than 20 million individuals were collected in 18 km² of forest. A less conventional approach was taken during 1320, when the cockchafers (as a species) were taken to court in Avignon where they were ordered to leave town and relocate to a specially designated area, or be outlawed. All cockchafers who failed to comply were collected and killed. Both adults and grubs have been considered a delicacy at times and are still eaten in some countries.

In ancient Greece, young boys used to catch the unwitting cockchafer, and tether it by tying a thread around its feet, amusing themselves by watch the poor chap fly aimlessly around in spirals.

www.buglife.org.uk

The Blackheaded Pasture Cockchafer

Note Number: AG1364
Published: Sept. 1990
Updated: July 2008

This Agnote describes the life cycle and growth habits of the blackheaded pasture cockchafer in South-Eastern Australia. It also offers some control measures and management considerations.

Introduction

The blackheaded pasture cockchafer, Aphodius tasmaniae,

is a native insect of South-Eastern Australia including Tasmania. In Victoria, blackheaded pasture cockchafers are mainly active in the Western District, the Southern Wimmera, the North-Central and Central districts, the North-East and Gippsland.

They appear to be pests in areas where the annual rainfall exceeds about 480mm. It has become an important pest of improved pastures, lawns, golf courses and parks.

Understanding the life-cycle and behaviour of the pest is necessary to control the pest and for planning pasture recovery.

Identification

The adult cockchafer beetles are dark brown to black in colour, have long fine legs and are approximately 10 to 11 mm long (Figure 1).

The cockchafer larvae (grubs) are white or greyish-white in colour, from and have soft bodies (Figure 2). The blackheaded cockchafer larvae tend to curl into a C-shape on exposure or when handled, hence they are often referred to as «curl» grubs. Their gut contents can often be seen through the external covering in the medium to larger larvae. Fully grown larvae are 15 to 20 mm long. The cockchafer larvae of all other pasture cockchafers in Victoria have reddish or yellow head capsules. See Agriculture Note AG1749: The redheaded pasture cockchafer.

Life-cycle and growth habits

The blackheaded pasture cockchafer has a one year life cycle (Figure 3). They emerge from the ground and fly during January to February dusk on calm, mild evenings. They are often attracted to lights at night during this time. They may also be noticeable when large numbers of them burrow into animal manure, often pulverising and burying it.

The females are seemingly attracted to sparse pastures caused by heavy grazing, hay cutting, etc. for egg laying. They burrow about 100 mm into the soil to lay their yellow oval-shaped eggs of about 1 mm in diameter in batches of two to three dozen. These hatch into small grey coloured larvae or «grubs» of 5 to 8 mm length after about 18 to 21 days. Their head capsules are pale at birth but turn to shiny dark brown to black after a few hours.

The young grubs feed on the humus underground until the autumn break. They then tunnel to the surface and emerge at night to feed on the pasture, throwing up small mounds of soil around their outlets. The grubs grow through three stages or instars, digging deeper burrows and consuming more pasture throughout autumn and winter. Their tunnels may reach about 150mm depth depending on the grub size of and soil hardness.

From July onwards, the grubs mature during feeding and turn progressively more creamy yellow as they accumulate fat reserves necessary for pupation. They usually continue to feed until they enter a non-active prepupal stage in late August before eventually pupating in their burrows in December. The white coloured pupae, approximately 10 mm in length emerge as beetles the following January — February to continue the cycle.

Nature of cockchafer damage

The cockchafer grubs feed on humus in the soil until the autumn rains soften the ground and promote pasture growth and they then tunnel to the surface for surface feeding from this stage onwards. They come out at night, often in response to a heavy dew or rain, to collect fresh pasture leaves which they drag into their tunnels for later consumption during the day.

The blackheaded cockchafer grubs feed on clovers, ryegrass and animal dung and have been known to consume young wheat crops.

Paddock indications of blackheaded cockchafer damage

Their presence may be noted by small mounds of soil around their tunnel entrances (Figure 4). The larvae, and the damage they cause, gradually spreads out until the areas of infestation and the improved pasture species can seemingly start to «disappear» very quickly. Broad-leaved or tap-rooted weeds and unimproved pasture species such as bent grass are left behind in the de-nuded areas (Figure 5).

In April-May, the very young cockchafers are found nearer the centre of the damaged area, while the more mature larvae are on the outside. In late winter, the fully fed ones stay behind while younger

larvae continue to advance.

Maximum larval feeding occurs in May-June, when the rate of pasture growth is slowing down due to the cold weather. Bare patches usually become very noticeable at this time.

Blackheaded cockchafer may constitute a minor problem in years with good rains when pasture is more plentiful but, in a drier season, when feed is short, this loss of pasture will need to be addressed.

Soil types most affected

Blackheaded cockchafer infestations can occur in a wide range of soils varying form sandy loams to light clay loams. They do not thrive in either very sandy or very heavy clay soils and their numbers are greatly reduced in saturated soils. The colour of the soil has no affect on their presence.

Control and recovery techniques

Unlike the redheaded cockchafer, the blackheaded cockchafer can be controlled by insecticides as they are surface feeders. Maintaining pasture cover over summer may reduce infestions but there are currently no other control options available. Pasture renovation may be necessary in some years.

Chemical control

To determine if control is needed, use a square mouthed spade and dig several holes to about 200 mm depth about every 20 paces across suspect paddocks. Use the spade width to determine width and length of the hole. Treatment is likely to be needed if the average number of larvae per hole exceeds 5 to 6.

The grubs tend not to feed during dry warm/hot weather nor in cold or frosty conditions. Therefore apply the appropriate insecticide, registered for controlling the blackheaded cockchafer, just before rain or when a heavy dew is expected, but allow enough time (

4 hours) for the spray to dry to prevent it being washed off the foliage. If this is not practical then apply it immediately after rain, once dry enough to prevent spray run –off. Consult local spray retailers or representatives for current recommendations and follow safety guidelines at all times.

Applying insecticides in July or August when the grubs have become mature will rarely be successful, particularly if they grubs have visibly stopped feeding (See Figure 3). They may feed longer if the winter is mild and the soil is warmer or drier than normal.

Maintaining pasture cover in summer

Very short (2 – 3 cm) or open pastures are more attractive to egg-laying females of the blackheaded cockchafer whilst the opposite is the case for the redheaded cockchafer females. Using the correct grazing management to ensure a cover of about 5 cm height between manure clumps will also ensure a more dense pasture and increase its longevity to some extent. This may render this type of pasture less attractive for blackheaded cockchafer egg laying but has not been scientifically proven as such.

Re-sowing with soil disturbance

Re-sowing by using equipment which churns the top 3 – 5 cm of soil, such as a roterra, appears to greatly reduce further cockchafer damage. This activity either damages the very vulnerable grubs and/or exposes them to flocks of birds and other predators thereby reducing their effects post-sowing.

However the seedbed will be soft which may lead to pugging resulting in less dense pastures if the paddock is too wet when grazed. Consider also that re-sowing a large area of the farm at this late stage will increase the grazing pressure substantially on the remainder of the farm. This may necessitate the purchase of extra supplements to fill feed shortages.

Pasture recovery

In less severe infestations pastures may recover since their root systems are not attacked. If their regrowth is again attacked, then pasture recovery may be very slow and over-sowing or renovation may be required.

In severely infested paddocks, re-seeding will most likely be required, earlier rather than alter, to avoid germination too late into the cold period and to ensure some pasture growth in early to mid winter. However, ensure the grubs have been controlled (sprayed) to avoid new pastures being attacked again.

Determining which cockchafer is causing the damage

There are several ways to decide which cockchafer is present although, often both are present at the same time in the same paddock. Sometimes wet weather or cattle trampling can mask the indicators of which cockchafer is causing damage.

Table 1 indicates some ways to identify which of the two types of cockchafers are present.


Table 1. Differentiating between black and redheaded cockchafers

Blackheaded Cockchafer Redheaded Cockchafer
Head capsule is shiny brown to black within hours of hatching Head capsule is red to reddish brown
Tunnel visible with dirt mounds around the entrance No tunnels visible
Grubs move off quickly if handled or disturbed (approx. within a minute) Tend to stay in «C» shape for longer period if handled (for several minutes)
Ryegrass and clover plants physically «disappear» from pasture Ryegrass clumps appear dead but may be intermingled with green clumps
Pastures become denuded (except for weed) in ever increasing areas Clumps may be turned over by flock of birds or «pulling» by grazing animals
Ground surface is covered with cockchafer castings, similar to worm castings around tunnel entrances Ground may appear like talcum powder in dry weather with severe infestations

Safety Precautions

When handling any chemicals, strictly follow precautions advised on the container labels. Regularly check registration status and safety and handling guidelines as these can vary yearly.

Acknowledgements

I acknowledge the contribution to this Agnote by the previous entomologists of the former Plant research Institute, Burnley and for photos from DPI centres at Knoxfield and Horsham.

This updated version was developed by Frank Mickan, Farm Services/Dairy, Ellinbank, Victoria. September 2008.

Published and Authorised by:
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
1 Spring Street
Melbourne, Victoria

This publication is copyright. No part may be reproduced by any process except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968.

The advice provided in this publication is intended as a source of information only. Always read the label before using any of the products mentioned. The State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication

Following changes to the Victorian Government structure, the content on this site is in transition. There may be references to previous departments, these are being updated. Please call 136 186 to clarify any specific information.

agriculture.vic.gov.au

Cockchafer (May-bug)

Order

What do they look like?

Adult Cockchafers are found on and around trees and shrubs in gardens, parks, field hedgerows and woodland margins, feeding on leaves and flowers. The larvae, sometimes called rookworms, live in the soil and eat the roots of vegetables and grasses.

Where do they live?

Adult Cockchafers are found on and around trees and shrubs in gardens, parks, field hedgerows and woodland margins, feeding on leaves and flowers. The larvae, sometimes called rookworms, live in the soil and eat the roots of vegetables and grasses.

When can you see them?

The adult Cockchafer can be seen (and heard) flying on warm evenings from May to July.

Life cycle

The larvae – fat creamish-white grubs with brown heads – live in the soil feeding on plant roots for about three years, eventually reaching a length of 40-45 mm, before they pupate deeper in the soil, later emerging from the ground as adults in the spring.

What do they do?

In spite of its slightly frightening size and noisy flight, the adult Cockchafer is harmless. Although the adults eat the leaves of trees and shrubs, they rarely cause any significant damage in the UK. However, cherry and plum orchards in southern Europe sometimes suffer economic losses from Cockchafer feeding.
The larvae, if present in large numbers, can occasionally be pests of commercial vegetable crops, pastures, and grassed amenity areas such as lawns and grass-sports facilities (e.g. golf, cricket and bowling).

Did you know?

When they are flying, in the evening, Cockchafers are often heard before they are seen: their flight itself makes a strong whirring noise, but they also sometimes make a clatter when they accidently fly into the windows of lighted rooms.

Where can they be found?

The Cockchafer is widespread in Europe as far north as the centre of Sweden. It is widely distributed in the UK, wherever there are deciduous trees and shrubs for the adults and nearby meadows, fields or gardens for the larvae.

What is National Insect Week?

National Insect Week encourages people of all ages to learn more about insects.

Every two years, the Royal Entomological Society organises the week, supported by a large number of partner organisations with interests in the science, natural history and conservation of insects.

www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk

A scientific assessment of the harmfulness of the 16 most commonly used drugs

One of the more interesting news items of the last week came from the release of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs’ first piece of research – Drug harms in the UK: a multi-criteria decision analysis. The findings of the committee, based on wide ranging criteria, apply scientific methodology to answering the perpetually vexing question of exactly how much harm certain drugs do to their users and those around them.

The accompanying table summarizes the findings and the full paper is available free on the web, where you’ll see just how complex the equation actually is. Most interesting of all was that without government meddling and industry lobbying, alcohol was rated more harmful than any other drug, while tobacco (the only other taxed legal drug on the list), is more harmful than cannabis.

The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs was set up after British Home Secretary Alan Johnson sacked Professor Nutt from his role as the head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in 2009. ACMD is the UK’s official drugs advisory body and Johnson sacked Professor Nutt for saying cannabis was less harmful than alcohol.

The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs was founded to investigate and review the scientific evidence relating to drugs, free from political concerns.

Nutt is not pro- or anti-anything – he is a scientist and science is our only true friend when it comes to making informed decisions on any subject, but particularly about the effects of one of mankind’s greatest problems and its effects on society. The Committee’s aim is to provide accessible information on drugs, drug harms, benefits, regulation, education, prevention, treatment and recovery.

According to the report, which is available free (once you have registered at the Lancet), the most harmful drugs to users are crack cocaine (37), heroin (34) and metamfetamine (32), whereas the most harmful drugs to others are alcohol (46), heroin (21) and crack cocaine (17). When the two-part scores were combined, alcohol was the most harmful drug by a huge margin, followed by heroin and crack cocaine.

Professor David Nutt’s has just launched a new blog. This is recommended reading for anyone with an open mind to finding a better way.

newatlas.com

Useful and Harmful Activities of Fungi

In this article we will discuss about the useful and harmful activities of fungi.

Useful Activities of Fungi:

Directly or indirectly fungi are beneficial to human being. Fungi is used in medicine industry, as food, in food prepa­ration, in other industry and also in agricul­ture. Some of the useful activities are:

1. Preparation of Medicine:

Various kinds of fungi are used in the production of various kinds of medicine. The most important members are Penicillium notatum, Claviceps purpurea, Saccharo myces cerevisiae, Eremothemium ashbyii, Aspergillus proliferous etc.

Antibiotics are the metabolic product of some micro­organisms which are active against other microorganism(s). Sir Alexander Fleming (1929) was the first who invented the wonder drug Penicillin from Penicillium nota­tum.

Later, Penicillin was also com­mercially produced from P. cryso­genum. Later on, other different types of antibiotics were isolated from different fungi. The list of some fungi along with their pro­duced antibiotics and range of activity are given above.

Several alkaloids are produced and accumulated in the sclerotium of Claviceps purpurea which causes Ergot disease of rye. Out of several alkaloids, Ergo- metrine and its semisynthetic ana­logues like methyl ergometrine and methyl ergometrine maleate have prominent uterine action; those control haemorrhage of mother during child’s birth, having side- effect with increase in blood pres­sure and decreased milk secretion.

Rheumatic arthritis, allergy and some other diseases are con­trolled by steroid. Many fungi have the capacity to synthesize different steroids. Steroid like cortisone is produced by Aspergillus niger from plant glycosides by fermentation.

Vitamins are the micronutrients required for the growth of living organisms. Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12 are found respectively from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rhodo- torula gracilis and Eremothemium ashbyii.

(e) Other Compounds:

An anticancerous substance, calvacin is present in the giant PuffbalI (Clavatia gigan- tea), that prevents stomach tumours. Similarly, fungi like Ganoderma lucdum have promising significant roles in anticancerous, anti HIV and antihepatitis-B diseases. The fungi like Coriolus versicolor have also anticancerous activity.

Fungi are used as food by humans from prehistoric period. Some fungi have been used directly as food and some are used in food processing:

Fruit bodies of some fungi, like Agaricus brunnescens, A. campestris, Volveriella volvacea, V diplasia, Pleurotus sajor-caju, Lentinus edodes etc. are used as food due to their high protein con­tent (21-30% on dry weight) and have good amount of lysine, an amino acid; minerals like Na, Ca, K and P; Vitamins like B, C, D and K and very little amount of fat.

These are recommended as ideal foods for heart and diabetic patients. The above fungi can also grow artifici­ally at commercial level.

(b) Used in Food Processing:

The nutri­tious food soyabean cannot be digested easily by human beings.

Soyabeans are fermented by fungi like Rhizopus oryzae, R. oligospo- rus to prepare an easily diges- table and tasty food known as “tempeh”.

Several Indian foods such as jalebies, idli, murcha, papadam and toddy, are actually the fermented products caused by several fungi like Saccharomyces bayanus for jalebies; Tricho- sporon pollulans and Torulopsis Candida for idli; Rhizopus arrhizus for murcha; Saccharomyces cerevisiae for papadam and toddy.

Fermentation by yeast, particularly by Rhodotorula and Saccharomyces, results in quick growth of the organism producing single cell protein (SCP). Because of high nucleic acid content, the fermented products are not suitable for human nutrition, but can be used as feed for animal.

3. Fungi in Industry:

Many fungi are used in the production of alcohol, bread, cheese, enzyme and organic acids.

(a) Alcohol Production:

Alcoholic fermentation by fungi is the basis of brewing industry. The enzyme zymase of microorganisms like yeast is responsible for alcohol pro­duction.

The reaction is:

Wines are produced from grapes or other fruits by Saccharomyces ellipsoideus with about 14% alcohol concentration. Beer is brewed from bar­ley malt by Saccharomyces cerevisiae with 3-8% alcohol production.

(b) Bread and Cake Production:

During alcoholic fermentation by yeast, CO2 being released as bub­bles are used in baking industry to make the breads and cakes as spongy in appearance.

(c) Cheese Production:

Some species of Penicillium (P. roquiforti and P. camemberti) are used in the produc­tion of Roquefort and Camembert cheese by hydrolysis of fats and also to develop specific flavour to cheese.

(d) Enzyme and Organic acid Production:

Many fungi are used in the commercial production of enzymes and different organic acids.

List of some fungi along with produced enzymes and/or acids and their uses are given:

4. Soil Fertility:

Decomposition of litter and wood, mainly in the forest, takes place by the combined action of diffe­rent type of fungi. Fungi like Fusarium, Chaetomium, Chitridium, Penicillium, Aspergillus etc., can decompose the structural polymers such as cellulose, hemicellulose, lipid, protein, starch etc.

The more recalcitrant (persistant) poly­mers like lignin are decomposed by white rot fungi of Basidiomycotina. By decomposing the organic matters, fungi help to increase minerals and other sub­stances, thereby the fertility of soil is increased.

5. Plant Nutrition:

Several fungal members like Rhizoctonia, Tricholoma, Boletus, Phallus, Amanita etc., associated with the roots of higher plants form mycorrhizal relationship. The fungal partner supplies water and minerals and in turn, they take nutrition from the plant.

6. Manufacture of Phytohormone:

Gibberellin, an important phytohormone produced by Gibberella fujikuroi, the pathogen of Bakanee disease of rice, has been used to enhance growth of many plants.

7. As Insecticide:

Fungi like Cordyceps melonthae, Aschersonia aleyroidis, Empusa sepulchralis etc., are used as insecticides to control different types of insects.

8. Biological Research:

Fungi like Neuros­pora, Yeast etc., have been used in genetical and cytological studies. Physarum polysephalum has been used to study DNA-synthesis and morpho­genesis.

9. Test Organism:

Some strains of Aspergillus niger have been used to detect trace elements like Zn, Cu, and Mo, even if the substances are present in very minute quantity in the substrate. These elements when absorbed by the fungus give a particular colour to the conidia. Similarly, Neurospora crassa has been used to detect Vitamin B com­plex.

Harmful Activities of Fungi:

Fungi are also harmful to the human beings in various ways, either directly or indirectly. They may cause disea­ses of plants, human beings, and animals; spoilage of food etc.

Some of the harmful activities are:

1. Fungi Causing Plant Diseases:

Fungi cause several minor and major plant diseases. Some of them also cause famine in different parts of the world.

List of some diseases along with causal organism are given:

2. Fungi Causing Human Diseases:

Like plant disease, some fungi also cause human diseases.

Some of the important human diseases caused by fungi are given:

3. Fungi Causing Animal Diseases:

Like plants and human being, some animals also suffer from different diseases caused by fungi.

Some important animal diseases caused by fungi are given:

Besides above diseases, Saprolegnia para­sitica, an aquatic fungi live as parasite on egg and gills of fishes. Members like S. ferax, Achlya sp. and Ichthyophorus haferi cause severe damage to fishes.

4. Fungi Causing Disease of Vegetables and Fruits:

Different species of fungi cause disease (post-harvest) in vegetables and fruits.

List of some commonly available diseases are:

5. Spoilage of Food:

Different types of food are destroyed by different fungi like Mucor, Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhizopus etc.

Some of them are given below:

6. Destruction of Timber:

Species of Polyporus and Armillaria are very com­mon — cause wood rot of many trees. Polyporus abietinus causes decay of Abies wood, P. schweinitzii causes bud rot of mature conifers, P. sulphureus causes wood rot of apple, pear etc., while Armillaria mellea causes red rot of apple.

7. Destruction of Goods:

Fungi like Alternaria, Mucor, Trichoderma, Peni­cillium, Chaetomium, Cephalothecium etc., destroy paper, rubber, leather, cam­era lenses etc. In addition to the above, other fungi like Chaetomium globosum, Memnoniella echinata destroy jute products.

8. Poisonous Fungi:

Some fungi like Amanita phalloides produce toxins, like α-amanitin causes lesions of stomach cells and phalloidin affects on liver. Fungi, like Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus and Penicillium islandicum when infest ground nut and mustard cakes, produce a poisonous substance, the aflatoxin that binds with DNA and inhibits transcription, resulting into the inhibition of protein synthe­sis.

9. Hallucinogenic Drug:

LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide), the well-known hallucinogenic drug, is extracted from the sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea, the causal agent of ergot disease of rye. Other fungi like Psilocybe mexicana produce Psilocin and Psilocybin that have hallucinogenic properties. The hallucinogenic substances may destroy brain cells and cause distor­tion of perception power of human beings.

www.biologydiscussion.com

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