Cordyceps militaris ecology

(This is the orange fungus that develops from buried moth pupae.) I’ve been told the caterpillar gets infected when it eats a spore. But is it possible that the mycelium could persist in the soil and infect pupae by that route?
Thanks, John

‘We’ did a detailed iFocus (Zombie Fungi (Cordycipitaceae)) John - there was a lot of very valuable Comment at the time
I have done my share of observations and, inevitably, some research.
I had assumed the infected larvae were usually leatherjackets but it seems not always. This raises the probability that the spore is on the surface as well as in the ground.
Certainly if you find one, you will see it is evolved to shed its spore aerially, why else might it be tall?
But it is also possibly an attractive item for bird predation and so might do well through a secondary stage of a digestive process.
Looking at the biology, it comes to maturity about mid Sept so we might assume it is quite a specialised parasite, infecting larvae that are surface-based at that time - perhaps looking for ground pupation say.
I can say that the larvae do not die before they pupate because all the ones I have investigated are of pupae.
But there is a mass of complex material (research papers) about Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps on the web and you might find an answer, or a thousand more questions!

Thanks for that. I clicked on the link for the iFocus and it said 404 Page not found.

My question is prompted by finding C. militaris in the same place two years running so I wondered if it persists in the soil. Though equally you would expect the greatest density of shed spores to be near the fruiting bodies so that would also explain it occurring twice in the same place.

The underlying question is, does it have a habitat? A friend who is a CHEG fungi expert dismisses C. militaris as having no significance in site assessment, it just occurs where caterpillars pupate. But I have never found it in a poor quality improved grassland. Is it restricted to unimproved grassland? But then I don’t spend any time looking closely at improved turf.

My recent Observations are all from mown and well kept garden grass.
But I have recorded it in undernourished peat (cuttings) so my conclusion would be that spore is as everywhere that fungus spore is. It requires a tired larva to crawl through it and that suggests, to me, that it’s the susceptible larvae that drives distribution.
That particular and very popular iFocus is long deleted John, there is always a summary of iFocussing in the Project Panel

Just loaded one up John - a few fresh thoughts in the text

Linear asco-spore thread discharge @John_Bratton