Hello folks who wonder if the least travelled place in the world is the second page of a Google search result,

Cooties is an age-old disease commonly found among human kids where they get infected on coming in physical contact with another kid of the opposite sex. Its elder cousin herpes is commonly found in human adults which takes a bit of BOW CHICKA WOW WOW to transmit. While both the diseases are rarely fatal, it has a social stigma attached to it once you get infected. It can cause you to lose friends and the reputation you built over a number of years by posting all those flawless Instagram posts or displaying all those cool stickers on your school locker or both.

Insects are also affected by diseases that spread by physical contact but unlike humans they don't shun their kind once they are infected.

But, before we get to the meat and potatoes of this, let's take a moment to appreciate this pair of Convergent lady beetles getting their freak on. (Wow Karan, what's with the use of all this lingo all of a sudden, are you going through puberty or what?)


This is a common scene in spring when they are about to start their families to stop the evil aphids from taking over the world. You might just see a scene like this pair of Spotless Lady Beetles mating.


At first glance, it might not look much except that the male is giving all it got. But upon looking closer, we see the male is covered with some kind of yellow dust giving it a mohawk kind of look on its shell.


That yellow dust is actually a contagious fungal infection called the "green beetle hanger". This fungal infection can spread to other lady beetles when a male or female gets touchy-feely with other lady beetles. This can happen during mating or in some species hibernating together over the winter.


Even though this fungus looks gnarly and might indicate a slow, painful death for the lady beetle, that is not the case. This fungus is an ectoparasite which means it gets its nutrition by feeding off the hemolymph (blood equivalent) of the lady beetle, but they are not fatal or do not impair the lady beetle's lifestyle in any significant way. Except when they spread it to their partners, they have to make the embarrassing call asking them to get tested.

Below you can see the star shaped tip of the fungus which is the trigger through which the spores are released anytime the host lady beetle is less than 6 feet from another lady beetle. Should have listened to the state guidelines when they had the chance.

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