fungus

People live for — and die because of — the "Viagra of the Himalayas."

That's the nickname for one of the weirdest fungi around.

It starts with the larva of the ghost moth — a caterpillar that lives underground. A fungus invades the larva, kills it and consumes the body. Just the outer skeleton remains.

Eventually, a small brown stalk erupts from the dead caterpillar's head. In the spring, the pinkie-size stalk pokes an inch or two from the earth. That's when people across the Tibetan Plateau head to the high-alpine meadows to harvest the crazy-looking creature.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers in southwest Missouri are being urged to monitor livestock after ergot, a fungus that can be deadly for cattle, has been spotted in several hayfields and pastures.

US Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr

This week, we’ll hear about a devastating disease afflicting bat populations across the country, and learn about the hazards of ignoring the issue.