Cordyceps tenuipes - full, La Isla Escondida, Colombia
This was a thrilling discovery for us. On this long daytime hike we had plenty of time to mess around so Brayan (our local guide) and I were playing with creative lighting (off-camera flash). We played around with some angles and distances on this strange tree-like fungi found on the forest floor. We found it odd that it was growing in such a tilted way and Brayan found the look of this one so interesting that he wanted to collect it.
As he picks it up, only then do we realize there's a big insect it is growing out of, and that this is a cordyceps fungus. We discovered this exciting category only the night before and this is the 2nd species we found.
I based identification on this page, one of few pages I found with some good info:
If the identification is correct, this is a very widely distributed species. It even occurs in my home country the Netherlands, I had no idea. In dutch it is called the "rough powdered insect killer". Observations indeed come from multiple continents but there's a few dozen at most that I can find. Likely a case of common to occur, uncommon to see or be reported.
Based on other reference photos, this looks to be a fine specimen that is large, heavily branched and seemingly in its peak state. Note that this species is typically referred to as "Isaria tenuipes" yet in its anamorphical stage (as seen here) as Cordyceps tenuipes.
Cordyceps tenuipes is a cosmopolitan fungus that parasitizes insects. It is also known as Isaria tenuipes and Paecilomyces tenuipes.