- Recently, researchers have found Ophiocordyceps nutans (fungi) for the first time in central India, while setting out on a plant survey at the Kanger Valley National Park in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.
- Earlier, these have been reported in India only from the Western Ghats.
About the fungi
- Ophiocordyceps nutanshost on a specific insect, Halyomorpha halys.
- The fungi infect the insect when alive and develop fungal mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus) inside its thorax (chest).
- The spores (single-celled reproductive units) sprout out from between the insect’s thorax and head, killing the insect but it continues to take nutrition from the dead body.
- The fungi are very host-specific, so the spores travel and infect stink bugs only.
- Several species of the Ophiocordyceps fungi have medicinal properties.
- These are rich in biologically active metabolites, vitamin C, phenolic compounds(disinfectant in household cleaners), and also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Scientists claim that it contains a component called ‘cordycepin’which has anti-cancer properties.
- Studies have shown that these fungi can be used as a biological pest control agentagainst the stink bugs.
Back to Basics
Kanger Valley National Park
- Kanger Ghati National Park (also called Kanger Valley National Park) was declared a national park of Chhattisgarh in 1982 by the Government of India.
- It is home for the Bastar hill myna, the state bird of Chhattisgarh.
- The park derives its name from the Kanger River, which flows throughout its length.
- The Kanger Valley National Park is noted for its highly heterogeneous land formations ranging from low flat and gentle areas to steep slopes, plateaus, valleys and stream courses.
- The vast undulating terrain of the Kanger Valley National Park harbours diverse habitats which offer an ideal site for diverse kinds of flora and fauna, thus making it a hotspot of biodiversity in central India.
- The park is home to three exceptional caves, Kutumbasar, Kailash and Dandak,famous for their geological structures of stalagmites and stalactites.
- It is also known for the presence of underground limestone caves.