I have studied Aschersonia-Hypocrella for over 20 years and one matter has always intrigued me. A typical whitefly larva is less than 3 mm and is so very dorso-ventrally flattened that it barely reaches 0.1 mm thick. And yet.... After it has been killed by Aschersonia the resulting fruitbody can be 4-5 mm diameter and 1-2 mm high. That is a large volume of fungus to emerge from such a small host.
|Figure One - Aleyrodid host infected with Aschersonia luteabadia|
After death the stylet of the aleyrodid must still be stuck in the phloem of the host plant. Phloem sap will continue to pump up that stylet thanks to phloem pressure. Phloem sap is a rich source of nutrients - sugars, hormones, minerals etc. All useful for a still-developing Aschersonia-Hypocrella.
|Figure Two - Aschersonia confluens with sticky droplet|
Gary Samuels and myself drew attention to this phenomenon in 1998 when we were discussing the large stroma Hypocrella species on bamboo scale insects. At that time we assumed the fungus kept the host alive while it continued to grow over it. Much liked Septobasidium. I think, now, it is more likely the host is killed and it is only the stylet that continues to provide nutrients for the fungus host.