Lamington NP, QLD

Exploring bioluminescence

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Mycena Chlorophos

Fungi produce tiny spores to spread themselves, much like seeds from trees. 

Insects, attracted by the bioluminescence, also help transport the fungal spores.

Wherever the spores happen to land they germinate – provided conditions are favourable – like fungi that 'magically' pops up after overnight rain.

Glowing fungi make light by using a chemical reaction, which involves luciferin (an enzyme) and molecular oxygen. This chemical reaction is called bioluminescence.

The glowing parts of this leaf are fungal threads.

Also known as mycelium, of the species Mycena chlorophos.

Mycena chlorophos

 glows in the rainforest understorey,

often attracting other lifeforms.

These include nocturnal lizards, which patiently wait for unsuspecting insects or spiders to pass.

This common fungus is found up and down Australia’s east coast after substantial rain.

Ghost fungi   (Omphalotus nidiformis)

Bioluminescence is also how glow-worms produce light. They use it to attract insects, which get caught on sticky threads of silk.

Glow-worms (Arachnocampa flava)

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