Monday, October 5, 2009

Glow in the Dark Mushrooms!

Image: Cassius V. Stevani / Chemistry Institute, University of Sao Paulo via MSNBC
I guess I thought these were based more in science fiction and fantasy than fact (what do I know?!), but they're REAL! Researchers have found them in regions spanning the globe:
The freaky findings, reported today in the journal Mycologia, increases the number of aglow mushroom species from 64 to 71, shedding light on the evolution of luminescence in nature.

The newly identified mushrooms, which emit a bright, yellowish-green light 24 hours a day, were found in Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia and Puerto Rico. They include four species new to science and three new reports of luminescence in known species.

Even more interesting is a now emerging theory that many more types of mushrooms once had the glow, but lost their magical powers--er, their characteristic bioluminescence.

"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.
Read more on MSNBC and LiveScience...