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New luminous mushroom discovered in Taiwan

2013/11/26 18:29:08

(Photo courtesy of the Kenting National Park Headquarters)

Taipei, Nov. 26 (CNA) A new type of luminous mushroom was discovered in southern Taiwan, the Kenting National Park Headquarters said Tuesday, adding that the discovery could lead researchers to better understand how such species glow in the dark.

The mushroom, named "mycena kentingensis," was discovered by Shih Yu-shen, a graduate student at National Chung Hsing University's Department of Life Sciences, in the tropical forest in Kenting, Pingtung County in November 2011, the park said.

The discovery, which was published in the November 2013 edition of the German journal Mycological Progress, brings the total number of luminous fungus species in the world to 74, the national park said.

While the new mushroom has some of the same characteristics as two of the other eight luminous fungi found in Taiwan, it was confirmed by DNA sequencing to be a new species, according to the park.

The new species, which grows on dead wood, has a cap that is three to eight millimeters in diameter, and the entire mushroom is white, the park said.

The cap and stalk both glow green in the dark, the national park said, adding that it is still not clear how the light emitting mechanism of a luminous mushroom works.

Since the new species is easy to grow and takes only five weeks, it may be suitable for research into the light emitting mechanism of such types of mushrooms, the park said.

(By Kuo Chu-chen and Kay Liu)
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