Classical musical genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, probably never expected his music to inspire mycologists, but fungi researchers have announced in the journal Mycologia that two new species of glowing mushroom are named after movements in the composer’s Requiem: Mycena luxaeterna (eternal light) and Mycena luxperpetua (perpetual light).
The glowing fungi species—seven in total—were discovered in surveys around the world, including Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico. Four of the species are completely new to science—including the two named after the Requiem—while the other three were known, but their luminescent properties came as a surprise.
Top: cutting the tiger loose. Bottom: readying the animal for transport. Photos by WWF-Malaysia.
“It’s pretty unusual to find this many luminescent species, typically only two to five percent of the species we collect in the field glow,” said lead author Dennis Desjardin of San Francisco State University. “I’m certain there are more out there.”
Desjardin’s discoveries raise the number of known luminescent fungi species from 64 to 71. The new tiny mushroom species—measuring about a centimeter across—glow continuously with a yellowish-green light. Desjardin says that he believes the mushrooms evolved luminescence in order to attract nocturnal animals to facilitate dispersion of the mushroom’s spores.
An avid mycologist, Desjardin has uncovered more than 200 new fungi species and nearly a quarter of all glowing mushrooms.
(07/21/2008) In six plots of Guyanese rainforest, measuring only a hundred square meters each, scientists have discovered an astounding 1200 species of macrofungi, commonly known as mushrooms. Even more surprising: they believe over 600 of these are new to science — that’s equivalent to a new species every square meter.