Rediscovered Bioluminescent Fungus

A bioluminescent mushroom was discovered in Brazil in 1840 and named Agaricus gardneri (in honor of botanist George Gardner, who discovered it). The species was not observed again until 2009! I read that and thought. "How could they not see it? It glows in the dark!" Then I realized that the Brazilian rainforest must be an intimidating place in the dark. That turned out to be the true story.
To catch the green glow of the bioluminescent mushroom, Desjardin and his long-time research partner in Brazil, Dr. Cassius Stevani, had to "go out on new moon nights and stumble around in the forest, running into trees," he recalled, wary of nearby poisonous snakes and prowling jaguars.

But he said advances such as digital cameras have made it easier to track down bioluminescent fungi. New cameras allow researchers to photograph mushrooms that they suspect might be bioluminescent in darkened rooms and analyze the photos for a glow (sometimes one that's not visible to the human eye) within a few minutes, compared to the 30 to 40 minutes required of regular film exposure.

The brave mycologists brought back photographs of the same mushroom, now renamed Neonothopanus gardneri. Read more about it at Science Daily. Link -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, Brazil)

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I remember camping in the Adirondack Mountains High Peaks Area years ago and waking up in the middle of the night and being startled by the sight of the ground all aglow. It took me a few seconds to realize that it wasn't Martians, but a bioluminescent fungus.
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