Hawaiian Bioluminescent Mushrooms

(Recent finding of the bioluminescent Filoboletus manipularis. Found and photographed by Lucas Adams. Kauai'i.)


Bioluminescence is found throughout nature and most often associated with fireflies and underwater organisms. However, the phenomenon also occurs in fungi like mushrooms. Notably in the Filoboletus manipulates species that occurs in Hawaii.

F. manipularis occurs throughout lands in the Pacific, but has just recently been found for the first time on the Hawaiian Islands, and only on Kauai (so far!). After we sent this last time, one of our customers on Kaua'i went hunting at night and sure enough, found the first photograph above!

Filoboletus manipularis; normal light-law abiding mushroom citizen by day....
(Photo courtesy from Kauai'i Buddhist Monastery)


Scientist have studied bioluminescent mushrooms for a long time but haven’t figured out how they glow in the dark until just recently. It turns out it’s from a class of enzymatic-reaction from naturally occurring compounds called luciferins, which are the ones also found in fireflies and bioluminescent marine creatures. 

Who knows why they produce these compounds (my guess is they’re going through their teenage Rave phase) but the light is useful in attracting insects that can then spread the mushrooms spores (seeds) and propagate more species! 



Evening-time raver glower by night
(Photo courtesy from Kauai'i Buddhist Monastery)


Learn something new? Send to a friend who you think needs to know about this glow-in-the-dark phenomenon or bring it up with a friend over mai tais tonight!



Mush Love & ALOHA!
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Written by Mālama Mushrooms Hawaii Admin

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