Biologists have newly identified seven mushroom species that glow-in-the-dark. (The mushrooms may look psychedelic, but they are not in the psilocybe genus.) San Francisco State University biologist Dennis Desjardin found the glowing fungi in Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia and Puerto Rico. From National Geographic:
Desjardin and colleagues scouted for mushrooms during new moons, in rain forests so dark they often couldn't see their hands in front of their faces, he said.
But "when you look down at the ground, it's like looking up at the sky," Desjardin said. "Every little 'star' was a little mushroom--it was just fantastic."
From SF State News:
These latest findings shed light on the evolution of luminescence, adding to the number of known lineages in the fungi family tree where luminescence has been reported. "What interests us is that within Mycena, the luminescent species come from 16 different lineages, which suggests that luminescence evolved at a single point and some species later lost the ability to glow," Desjardin said. He believes some fungi glow to attract nocturnal animals that aid in the dispersal of the mushroom's spores, which are similar to seeds and are capable of growing into new organisms.
"GLOWING MUSHROOM PICTURES: Psychedelic New Species Seen" (National Geographic)
"New glowing mushroom species" (SF State News)
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