Posts Tagged ‘bioluminescence’
The wonderful phenomenon of glowing fungi, at least in the Daintree Rainforest, appears to have resolved the problem caused by the spectacular success of flowering plants and their obstruction to wind. Glowing lights attract invertebrates to aid in spore dispersal. Predominantly a wet-season occurrence, the coincidence of male fireflies, producing a series of like flashes from abdominal light-producing organs begs the question, is the fungi mimicking the the visual cue of the flightless female firefly, to lure the male into direct contact for spore-vector purposes?
Small mottled scorpions (Isometrus maculatus), of the family Buthidae, grow up to 5 cm. They are quite common in the Daintree Rainforest, but quick to run for cover. They are venomous and can deliver painful stings, but of all their fascinating attributes, flourescence under ultraviolet light remains the greatest mystery.
I wish I could give you a name for this attractive yellow bracket-fungus, but alas, I cannot. Not only do I not know it, the availability of reference material on the subject matter is frustratingly poor. Then again, every year that passes in the Daintree Rainforest reveals a multitude of fungal expressions that seem outrageously unfamiliar to me, like the intensity of the one captured in the image (above).
Why would a fungus want or need to create light? According to the Wet Tropics Management Authority, no one knows why many species use bioluminescence, but across its incredible evolutionary history, in circumstances of such windlessness, the fungi would appear to have adapted through mimicry of the flightless, female firefly. The fungus emits an indistinguishable light from an identical chemical reaction to lure the male firefly into making contact. He then carries the spores throughout the forest on his journey ahead.