Udayavni Special

Meghalaya: Mushrooms that glow in the dark


Team Udayavani, May 9, 2021, 3:06 PM IST

Source: istock

A unique variety of mushrooms has been discovered in the forests of Meghalaya, the kind that glows in the night.

Near a water stream in the East Khasi Hills district of Mawlynnong, about 600 varieties of mushrooms were found. A team of scientists from India and China found more species in the West Jaintia Hills district and among them was this bioluminescent mushroom species. The locals prefer to them call electric mushrooms and their scientific name is Roridomyces phyllostachydis.

Samantha Karunarathna, Senior mycologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that the members of the genus Roridomyces are very fragile, and they love moist and humid conditions. In general, bioluminescent mushrooms seem to have co-evolved together with some specific insects as these mushrooms attract insects to disperse their spores.

The locals use these glowing mushrooms as natural torches to navigate at night.

India has more bioluminescent mushrooms than actually reported, according to mycologists. They are also found in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and Kerala, along with the ones found in Meghalaya.

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