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Top 10 - 2011

Bioluminescent Mushroom

(Some fruiting bodies of Mycena luxaeterna growing on a rotten branch. © Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, Brazil)

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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