Glow-In-The-Dark Brazilian Mushroom Back After 170 Years

Courtesy Dr. Cassius V. Stevani

 (Courtesy Dr. Cassius V. Stevani )

A long-forgotten glow-in-the-dark mushroom that had not been seen since 1840 has been discovered in the lush forests of Brazil, according to the Daily Mail.

The flashy fungi was rediscovered by scientist Dennis Desjardin and his team in 2009.

The mushroom's bioluminescence, or an organism's ability to produce light on their own, was first discovered by British botanist George Gardner, according to LiveScience. Desjardin's newly-collected specimens led to it being reclassified as Neonothopanus gardner.

The forgotten fungus shines so brightly that you can read by it, and the team hopes that by studying it and its bioluminescent cousins, scientists will be able to shed light on how and why some fungi glow, according to Wired.

Catching the 'shroom shrouded in secrecy was no easy task. According to his release, 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," wary of nearby poisonous snakes and prowling jaguars.

Scientists aren't sure why the 65 luminescent fungi species glow, but the ability may have evolved to attract nocturnal animals to aid in dispersal of the fungi's spores — spreading their offspring around.

"We want to know how this happens, how it evolved, and if it evolved multiple times," Desjardin said. "Each one of these is a fascinating question that we are close to answering."

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