Ophiocordyceps endoparasitoid fungi (and)
Mischocyttarus mexicanus cubicola, a neotropical paper wasp;
Volusia county, Florida (20 Sep. 2015).
Learn more about Ophiocordyceps and M. mexicanus cubicola at iNaturalist.org.
A fairly awesome find in my backyard, here we have a endoparasitoid fungi (likely a species of Ophiocordyceps but possibly Cordyceps) hijacking and using the biological system of a paper wasp for its own purposes. Zombification (so to speak)!
The Mischocyttarus identification was offered on iNaturalist by Jonathan Hoskins, a graduate student at UT San Antonio (a paleontologist and taxonomist with a keen interest in wasps and oysters!); I had originally flagged the wasp incorrectly as genus Polistes. [Updated Monday 08 July 2019]
I’m still shopping around for verification or correction with the fungus identification. Note to self: Ophiocordyceps sphecocephala is known to hit papers wasps.
Additional Photos of the Same Bio-Event: