Cordyceps cardinalis G.H. Sung & Spatafora 2004

G.H. Sung & Spatafora
Sung, G.H.; Spatafora, J.W., 2004, Mycologia 96(3): 660 (2004)
Cordyceps s. l., Cordycipitaceae, Hypocreales, Hypocreomycetidae, Sordariomycetes, Pezizomycotina, Ascomycota, Fungi
Type Specimen: 
OSC 63609
Type Locality: 
Hen Wallow Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA

Stromata solitary or several, simple or rarely branched, on larva of Lepidoptera. Stipe fleshly, ochraceous orange to red, cylindrical to enlarging apically, 4–50 x 0.5-1.5 mm. Fertile area terminal, reddish orange to reddish, cylindrical, elliptical to fusiform, 2–9 x 1–4 mm.


Perithecia crowded, loosely embedded, ordinal in orientation, elliptical to fusiform to obclavate, 230–540 x 110 –240 mm.


Asci 8-spored, hyaline, cylindrical 175–330 x 3–5 um, possessing a prominent apex.


Ascospores smooth, filiform, hyaline, irregularly multiseptate, not fragmenting into part-spores, 160–320 x 1 um.

Clonostachys-like or Mariannaea-like
Host or Substrate: 

on larva of Lepidoptera (Note: Hosts enclosed in a loosely woven web or silken matrix are classified in the subfamily Archolophinae of Tineidae).

Known Distribution: 
Japan, Korea, United States of America
Specimens Examined: 

USA. Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hen Wallow Trail, 19 Jul 2000, OSC 93609 (Holotype), OSC 93610, OSC 93611, OSC 93612, OSC 93613; Roan Mountain State Park, 25 Jul 2000, OSC 93614, OSC 93615, OSC 93616, OSC 93617, OSC 93618, OSC 93619. Japan. Kagawa: Shikoku, 23 Jun 1997, OSC 93619, OSC 93620, OSC 93621, OSC 93622.


Cordyceps cardinalis is collected most frequently as a single, small, reddish stroma emerging from lepidopteran larvae buried in the upper 1–2 cm of soil or from under well-developed moss mats. The host frequently is enclosed in a web or silken matrix. In ascus maturation, young asci are characterized by a pronounced apical cap or apex that possesses a distinct canal. In the mature ascus, the apical cap becomes less pronounced, flattened and the canal is usually not as apparent. The arrangement of ascospores within asci was more or less parallel for the entire length of the asci, indicating that the ascospores were of approximately the same length as the asci. The nondisarticulating ascospores of C. cardinalis are irregularly septate. Cordyceps cardinalis is most similar to C. pseudomilitaris in both morphology and ecology but differs in size of asci, ascospores, type of anamorph and in their color characteristics in culture.

Page Author: 
Gi-Ho Sung