Mushrooms that glow to continue the species

March 23, 2015

 

Scientists have known about bioluminescent fungus since ancient times. But even Aristotle was not sure why some mushrooms would need to glow. Now, researchers have concluded that the green light emitted by some species attracts insects that help spread the mushroom’s spores. Their study, published in Current Biology, also finds that the bioluminescence is regulated by a temperature-controlled circadian clock, which probably helps the mushrooms conserve energy. Of more than 100,000 known fungal species, only 71 are known to produce light, making them one of the rarest bioluminescent organisms.

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