We have six security guards in the layout. All of them are from Nepal. Yesterday two of them asked leave for two month. I was surprised as it would be very cold and snowing in their place now. While checking with them one of them told me that he is going to collect insects. I got curious. Gave a bit of talk and asked him about the insect.
He told me that there is an insect found in the grass in this season which they would go and collect. This is sold in the market for high price. One Kg of this insect is sold for 100'000 India rupees. He said that it is not allowed to bring in to India, as it has got high price in India. He continued saying that these insects are not killed if found alive. It head is broken and found between the grass.
He continued to say many stories about this insect which attracted my interest to know what it is. Asked a few people but, none of them had idea on any such insect. I thought that the guy might have been saying something. But why should he be saying something?? Let me google it. I searched with all the names which he told me, but did not find any thing. It is also that the accent in which they speak pronounce some other word for some other. I continued searching to find this interesting information about Yarcha. Caterpillar fungi are the result of a parasitic relationship between the fungus and the larva of the ghost moth genus Thitarodes, several species of which live on the Tibetan Plateau (Tibet, Qinghai, West-Sichuan, SW-Gansu & NW Yunnan, all in China, and the Himalayas India, Nepal, Bhutan). The fungus germinates in living organisms (in some cases the larvae), kills and mummifies the insect, and then the fungus grows from the body of the insect.
Ophiocordyceps sinensis is known in the West as a medicinal mushroom and its use has a long history in Traditional Chinese medicine as well as Traditional Tibetan medicine. The hand-collected fungus-caterpillar combination is valued by herbalists and as a status symbol; it is used as an aphrodisiac and treatment for ailments such as fatigue and cancer, although such use is mainly based on traditional Chinese medicine, anecdote, and a limited amount of research. Clinical trials have not established its efficacy.
The fungus is a medicinal mushroom which is highly prized by practitioners of Tibetan medicine, Chinese medicine and traditional Folk medicines, in which it is used as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer. It is regarded as having an excellent balance of yin and yang as it is apparently both animal and vegetable (though it is in actuality not vegetable, but fungi). Assays have found that Ophiocordyceps species produce many pharmacologically active substances. They are now cultivated on an industrial scale for their medicinal value. However, no one succeeded so far growing the larva cum mushroom artificially. All artificial products are derived from mycellium grown on grains or in liquids.Read more about this in Ophiocordyceps sinensis in Wikipedia