Rare bioluminescent mushroom spotted in Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary

Bioluminescence is the ability of living organisms to emit light. It occurs due to a biochemical reaction between luciferins, oxygen and the enzyme luciferase.
A team of researchers along with the forest department staff found a  rare  bioluminescent mushroom in the Kanyakumari Wild Life Sanctuary.
A team of researchers along with the forest department staff found a rare bioluminescent mushroom in the Kanyakumari Wild Life Sanctuary.

KANNIYAKUMARI: A team of researchers and the forest department have found a rare bioluminescent mushroom in the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary (KKWLS).

Vinod Sadhasivan, Kanniyakumari Nature Foundation director, who was part of the expedition said the bioluminescent fungi 'Mycena chlorophos' was spotted at a specific area of the wildlife sanctuary. "They were visually documented during the night. It is characterized by a pristine white disc with a shallow depression in the centre and emits a bright, greenish light in the dark," he said.
 
Sadhasivan added, "Bioluminescence is the ability of living organisms to emit light. It occurs due to a biochemical reaction between luciferins, oxygen and the enzyme luciferase. There are around 103 species of bioluminescent fungi in the world, of which seven are found in India. The benefit of bioluminescence in fungi is to attract insects for facilitating their spore dispersal."                                                                                                                      
D Jude, a young wildlife cinematographer who was part of the expedition, said the team travelled to the forest for over two months to spot the rare mushroom. It was very difficult to photograph it, he noted.                                                                                                                                                          
M Ilayaraja, Kanniyakumari District Forest Officer and Wildlife Warden said the presence of bioluminescent fungi highlights how crucial it is to protect places like Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary. "It is also a reminder of the challenges we face, including habitat destruction, climate change, and light pollution, which threaten these remarkable organisms and our fragile environment," he added.

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