Check out the full story of how scientists discovered glowing mushrooms in Meghalaya with the help of local people who guided them to the forests.
All of us have certainly devoured the delicious mushroom delicacies, but could we ever imagine that mushrooms can turn out to be glowy too? Of course no! But in a unique discovery, scientists have found out glowing mushrooms in Meghalaya!
It all began in the monsoon period of 2020 when a team of scientists from India and China started researching the fungal foray in Assam. To their surprise, there were a large variety of fungi where they could spot some hundred species of fungi.
The team, further, headed to West Jaintia Hills District in Meghalaya after hearing about “electric mushrooms” by locals. On a drizzly night, the team was guided by a local to a bamboo forest, who then, asked the team to switch off their torches.
What they saw next was unbelievable for the team as they could easily see the glowing mushrooms emitting light in the bamboo forest. Scientists call this phenomenon ‘bioluminescence’ where fungi emit their own light.
This new species is called ‘Roridomyces phyllostachydis’ and is one of the 97 glowing species in the world. Locals had first seen this during a night in August near a stream in Meghalaya’s Mawlynnong in East Khasi Hills district. However, it was also later seen at Krang Shuri in West Jaintia Hills district.
The most interesting thing about these glowing sticks is that locals use them as natural torches to navigate the forest!
A fungal photographer, Steve Axford, who visited with the team set up a small studio and took photos of this discovery.
According to scientists, these mushrooms can only grow on dead bamboo. Apart from Meghalaya, there are reports of other glowing fungi in Kerala, Maharashtra and Goa. However, these have not been scientifically reported.
Really, India is rich in diversity!