Geelong’s Glowing Mysterious Ghost Mushrooms

No one knows why the species glow.

In Victoria, Australia a group of photographers have captured the ominous ghost mushrooms glowing in the Inverleigh Flora Fauna Park West of Geelong.

The mushrooms known as ‘ompalotus nidiformis’, glow in the dark due to bioluminescence- a biochemical emission of light by living organisms.One photographer Phillip Dubbin captured the mushroom’s glowing using long exposure photography which revealed a green aura not visible to the naked eye, turning the mushroom from a ghostly white to a toxic green.

The glowing mushroom is visible during peak fungi time, between autumn and winter and is found around south-west Western Australia and all down the east coast and Tasmania. Generally spotted in the bushlands but can be seen along parkways and streets.

According to biologist Julie Fielder the ghost mushrooms: “glow 24 hours a day, but obviously can't see the glow during daylight hours."

Glowing MushroomImage: Wikimedia Commons 

Ghost mushrooms are parasitic, they feed off live and rotting or dead tissue of trees such as banksia, eucalypts and casuarinas.

The mushrooms glow in a similar fashion to fireflies, but according to Ms Fielder, the purpose for its bioluminescence is unknown. Some have speculated that these mushrooms glow to attract insects to spread their spores. But this theory was disproved in 2016.

Ms Fielder urges those who spot the elusive mushroom to report them to the online citizen science project Fungi Map, but warns these mushrooms are not for eating:?

The other thing that everyone wants to know is can you eat them, and the answer is no, they're toxic.

Header: shutterstock

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