Why Do Some Mushrooms Glow In the Dark?

There are certain types of mushrooms that glow in the dark, and no, we aren’t talking about some mutated mushrooms from a sci-fi or horror movie. These are actually normal mushrooms that you can find in many different parts of the world.

In fact, the Greek philosopher Aristotle was the first to note this bizarre phenomenon displayed by some mushrooms nearly 2,000 years ago.

Why Do Some Mushrooms Glow?

Glowing Mushroom

Credits:Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock

Mushrooms glow in order to seek and attract the attention of insects. Several species of fungi are “bioluminescent”, meaning that they can produce light through a chemical reaction. Researchers have discovered that this illuminated display helps the mushrooms attract insects, such as beetles, flies and ants, which can carry their fungal spores away. This spread of spores helps the species reproduce and expand to new habitats, furthering their efforts to survive.

Growing Mushroom

Credits:hans engbers/Shutterstock

That’s not the only cool thing, however… the study also found that these incredible fungi use their circadian clock to tell them when it is dark enough to turn on their bioluminescence; therefore, the chemical reaction isn’t wasted during the daylight hours!

They might be near the bottom of the food chain from our perspective, but we could really learn something about saving electricity from mushrooms!

References:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Why Some Mushrooms Glow in the Dark (NPR) – Dartmouth News
  3. Why Do Some Mushrooms Glow In The Dark? – Gizmodo.com
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About the Author:

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spends a lot of time watching movies, and an awful lot more time discussing them. He likes Harry Potter and the Avengers, and obsesses over how thoroughly Science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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