Thursday, 26 May 2011

A Top 10 mushroom in São Paulo

Living in São Paulo is an urban overdose of all things man-made so it’s easy to forget that the surrounding areas are dotted with lakes, beaches and Alantic forest.

And that’s exactly why São Paulo made an appearance yesterday in the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) annual Top 10 New Species 2010. One of the 10 most extraordinary finds is apparently the Mycena luxaeterna, a bioluminescent mushroom which emits a bright yellow-green light and was discovered in Iporanga at the Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira. The Latin name means "eternal light" which in turn is a movement in Mozart's "Requiem". And before this turns too highbrow here are the photos of the shroom by day and by night:

Technical details follow:

Name:  Mycena luxaeterna

Common Name:  Eternal light mushroom

Family:  Mycenaceae

How it made the Top 10:  This new species, collected from some of the last remaining Atlantic forest habitat near São Paulo, Brazil, emits very bright yellowish green light 24 hours per day from its gel-covered stems.  DNA sequences of this species
(from 5 gene regions) are helping us to understand the origin and evolution of bioluminescence in the fungi.  Of the estimated 1.5 million species of fungi on earth, only 71 species are known to be bioluminescence and Mycena luxaeterna is one of the most visually striking species.

Reference:  Desjardin, D.E., B.A. Perry, D.J. Lodge, C.V. Stevani, and E. Nagasawa. 2010. Luminescent Mycena: new and noteworthy species. Mycologia 102(2):459- 477.

Type Material:  Holotype – Instituto de Botânica Herbário (SP), São Paulo, Brazil.  Isotype – San Francisco State University Thiers Herbarium (SFSU), San Francisco, California, USA. Paratypes – SP and SFSU.

Type Locality:  Brazil, São Paulo state, Iporanga, Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira, Poço da Viúva, 24°35.220'S, 48°37.840'W.

Etymology:  lux = light (L.), aeterna = eternal (L.), referring to the constant light emitted by the basidiomes. The epithet was inspired by and borrowed from Mozart’s Requiem (Communio).

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