New Glowing Fungi Species Found in Brazil

Bioluminescent fungi
<< Previous   2 of 5   Next >>
A species of bioluminescent fungi looks unassuming as it pokes its capped head above the mossy wood from which it grows in the tropical forests of Brazil. But at night a chemical reaction causes the fungus to emit an eerie green glow sometimes called foxfire.

The 33 Mycena species known to glow in the dark are separated into 16 lineages, San Francisco State's Desjardin says.

"Obviously the big question then arises: Did luminescence evolve 16 different times in the genus Mycena, or did it evolve only a few times and was lost hundreds of times during the course of evolution?" he said in an email to National Geographic News.

To help answer this question, Desjardin's research team has been extracting and sequencing DNA from the glowing mushrooms. They will use the data to develop a mushroom "family tree" that includes glowers and related nonglowers, a first step to determining when bioluminescence emerged in fungi.

 More Photos in the News
 Today's 15 Most Read Stories
 Free Email Newsletter: Focus on Photography
Photograph by Rodrigo Baleia
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.