Glowing Unseen | A 2023 Roundup of Malaysian Bioluminescent Fungi Finds
Highlighting some of the glow in the dark mushrooms I found last year in Malaysia.
For my loyal followers, you're probably familiar with my fascination for a rare trait in mushrooms: bioluminescence. Yes, I'm talking about those magical fungi that glow on their own.
I’ve written a lot about the topic, and I nerd out every time I suspect a species I find may have the potential to glow.
My journey in exploring these luminous wonders has been a mix of excitement and, often, a touch of disappointment.
About 85-90% of the time I’m left in the dark and let down by the fact I had a dud. My screen is black after waiting for the long exposure to capture at least a speck of that yellow-green glow.
But every now and then I get a surprise and find that sweet green glow lighting up my screen.
In this post, you'll find an array of species, some still nameless, some in the process of being identified, and others that might already have a place in the scientific world.
A while back I was with @mymyxos.my at Wawasan in Kuala Lumpur and she came upon these really tiny white mushrooms growing on a twig.
Upon closer inspection I got excited given how their shape immediately reminded me of my childhood cereal of choice, Honeycombs.
These unidentified cephaloid species were pretty dry yet exuded a very faint bioluminescence.
A long exposure shot was taken at ISO1600 for just over 7 minutes. For now, I call these “Luminous Honeycomb.”
Another person mentioned they look like popcorn.
Examining species within the Mycenaceae family is recommended, as they represent the largest group of bioluminescent mushrooms; accounting for about half of all documented cases.
At Sungai Congkak, just outside Kuala Lumpur, I found myself examining a unique Mycena mushroom.
Its semi-translucent, maroon marginated gill edges hinted at something special. Indeed, it glowed – brighter than I expected.
The glow was so intense that in moments, my camera screen was bathed in green. Nearby, younger mushrooms also glowed, though more dimly.
At Bukit Kiara, another pinkish Mycena caught my eye. Initially, it didn't seem to glow, but soon, tiny green sparks appeared at the stem's base, revealing a subtly glowing mycelium.
Last October my journey led me to Kinabalu Park in Sabah, Borneo where I found Roridomyces sp. mushrooms, distinct from the usual translucent, white varieties I knew (i.e., Austral Dripping Bonnets).
These had a caramel hue and mostly glowed at the viscid base, though one had a glow that extended to parts of its gills and top of the stipe.
On the same trail, a solitary light purple mushroom on a leaf intrigued me. Similar to Favolaschia species (known for its pores).
To my delight, both the mushroom and the mycelium on the leaf glowed.
Lastly, in Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Gasing, I came across Panellus sp. (although these should be put in a different Genus like Favolaschia).
The mushrooms were found on fern fronds and their glow was unpredictable, influenced by moisture, temperature, and other factors.
These glowing finds in Malaysia were just a glimpse into the fascinating world of bioluminescent mushrooms.
As I plan more explorations, I'm excited about what other marvels I might uncover. If you're curious about these natural wonders, feel free to explore further in the “Bioluminescent” section of this site.
There's always more to discover.
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