List of bioluminescent fungi

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Panellus stipticus, one of over 70 species of bioluminescent fungi

Found largely in temperate and tropical climates, there are more than 70 species of bioluminescent fungi, all of which are members of the order Agaricales. All known representatives are mushroom-forming, white-spored agarics that belong to four distinct evolutionary lineages. The Omphalotus lineage (comprising the genera Omphalotus and Neonothopanus) contains 12 species, the Armillaria lineage has 5 species, while the Mycenoid lineage (Mycena, Panellus, Prunulus, Roridomyces) has 47 species. The recently discovered Lucentipes lineage contains two species, Mycena lucentipes and Gerronema viridilucens, which belong to a family that has not yet been formally named.[1] Armillaria mellea is the most widely distributed of the luminescent fungi, found across Asia, Europe, North America, and South Africa.[2]

Bioluminescent fungi emit a greenish light at a wavelength of 520–530 nm. The light emission is continuous and occurs only in living cells.[3] No correlation of fungal bioluminescence with cell structure has been found. Bioluminescence may occur in both mycelia and fruit bodies, as in Panellus stipticus and Omphalotus olearius, or only in mycelia and young rhizomorphs, as in Armillaria mellea.[4] In Roridomyces roridus luminescence occurs only in the spores, while in Collybia tuberosa, it is only in the sclerotia.[5]

Although the biochemistry of fungal bioluminescence has not fully been characterized, the preparation of bioluminescent, cell-free extracts has allowed researchers to characterize the in vitro requirements of fungal bioluminescence. Experimental data suggest that a two-stage mechanism is required. In the first, a light-emitting substance (called "luciferin") is reduced by a soluble reductase enzyme at the expense of NAD(P)H. In the second stage, reduced luciferin is oxidized by an insoluble luciferase that releases the energy in the form of bluish-green light. Conditions that affect the growth of fungi, such as pH, light and temperature, have been found to influence bioluminescence, suggesting a link between metabolic activity and fungal bioluminescence.[5]

All bioluminescent fungi share the same enzymatic mechanism, suggesting that there is a bioluminescent pathway that arose early in the evolution of the mushroom-forming Agaricales.[1] All known luminescent species are white rot fungi capable of breaking down lignin, found in abundance in wood. Bioluminescence is an oxygen-dependent metabolic process because it provides antioxidant protection against the potentially damaging effects of reactive oxygen species produced during wood decay. The physiological and ecological function of fungal bioluminescence has not been established with certainty. It has been suggested that in the dark beneath closed tropical forest canopies, bioluminescent fruit bodies may be at an advantage by attracting grazing animals (including insects and other arthropods) that could help disperse their spores. Conversely, where mycelium (and vegetative structures like rhizomorphs and sclerotia) are the bioluminescent tissues, the argument has been made that light emission could deter grazing.[5]

The following list of bioluminescent mushrooms is based on a 2008 literature survey by Dennis Desjardin and colleagues,[6] in addition to accounts of several new species published since then.[7][8][9][10]


Name The binomial name of the fungal species, including the author citation—the person who first described the species using an available scientific name, using standardized abbreviations.
Luminescence Indicates which form of the fungus—mycelium or fruit body—produces luminescence.
Distribution The geographical distribution of the species. AF=Africa; AS=Asia; AU=Australasia; CA=Central America and the Caribbean; EU=Europe; NA=North America; SA=South America
References Literature sources where bioluminescence was reported.


... glowing with the lights off
Omphalotus olearius
Gills of O. olearius
Binomial Luminescence Distribution References
Mycelium Fruit body
Armillaria fuscipes
yes no Malaysia [4][11][12]
Armillaria gallica
Marxm. & Romagn.
yes no EU, NA [13]
Armillaria mellea
(Valh.) P.Kumm.
yes no EU, NA [13]
Armillaria ostoyae
(Romagn.) Henrik
yes no EU, NA [14]
Armillaria tabescens
(Scop.) Emel
yes no EU, NA [13]
Dictyopanus foliicolus
yes yes Japan [15][16]
Dictyopanus pusillus var. sublamellatus
? yes SA [17]
Filoboletus pallescens
(Boedijn) Maas Geest.
? yes Malaysia [18]
Filoboletus yunnanensis
? yes China [18]
Gerronema viridilucens
Desjardin, Capelari & Stevani
yes yes SA [19]
Lampteromyces luminescens
? yes China [20]
Mycena asterina
Desjardin, Capelari & Stevani
yes yes SA [21]
Mycena cahaya
A.L.C.Chew & Desjardin
yes yes Malaysia [22]
Mycena citricolor
(Berk. & M.A.Curtis) Sacc.
yes no SA, CA [12][23]
Mycena chlorophos
(Berk. & M.A.Curtis) Sacc.
yes yes Malaysia, Japan, Pacific Islands [17]
Mycena daisyogunensis
? yes Japan [15]
Mycena deeptha
Aravind. & Manim.
yes no India [9]
Mycena discobasis
? yes SA, AF [21]
Mycena epipterygia
(Scop.: Fr.) S.F.Gray
yes no EU, NA, Japan [24]
Mycena fera
Maas Geest. & de Meijer
? yes SA [21]
Mycena galopus
(Pers.: Fr.) P.Kumm.
yes no EU, NA, Japan [12][24][25]
Mycena haematopus
(Pers.: Fr.) P.Kumm.
yes yes EU, NA, Japan [25][26]
Mycena illuminans
? yes Malaysia, Japan [17][27][28]
Mycena inclinata
(Fr.) Quél.
yes no EU, NA, AF [11]
Mycena kentingensis yes Taiwan [10]
Mycena lacrimans
? yes SA [21]
Mycena lamprospora
(Corner) E.Horak
no yes (spores) Malaysia, AU [28][29][30]
Mycena lucentipes
Desjardin, Capelari & Stevani
yes yes SA, CA [21]
Mycena lux-coeli
? yes Japan [17]
Mycena luxaeterna
B.A.Perry & Desjardin
yes yes SA [7]
Mycena luxarboricola
B.A.Perry & Desjardin
no yes SA [7]
Mycena luxperpetua
B.A. Perry & Desjardin
yes yes Puerto Rico [7]
Mycena maculata
yes EU, NA, AF [25]
Mycena manipularis
(Berk.) Métrod
yes yes AU, Malaysia, Pacific islands
Mycena manipularis var. microporus
Kawam. ex Corner
? yes Pacific islands [17]
Mycena noctilucens
Kawam. ex Corner
? yes Malaysia, Pacific islands [17][28]
Mycena noctilucens var. magnispora
? yes Pacific islands [28]
Mycena olivaceomarginata
(Massee apud Cooke) Massee
yes no EU, NA [11]
Mycena polygramma
(Bull.: Fr.) S.F.Gray
yes no AF, EU, NA, Japan [12][24][25]
Mycena pruinoso-viscida
? yes Malaysia [17][28]
Mycena pruinoso-viscida var. rabaulensis
? yes (spores) AU [17][28]
Mycena pseudostylobates
yes ? Japan [15]
Mycena pura
(Pers.: Fr.) P.Kumm.
yes no EU, NA, SA, Japan [25]
Mycena rosea
(Bull.) Gramberg
yes no EU [25]
Mycena sanguinolenta
(Alb. & Schwein.: Fr.) P.Kumm.
yes no EU, NA, Japan [24]
Mycena seminau
A.L.C.Chew & Desjardin
yes yes Malaysia [22]
Mycena silvaelucens
B.A.Perry & Desjardin
? yes Malaysia [7]
Mycena sinar
A.L.C.Chew & Desjardin
yes yes Malaysia [22]
Mycena singeri
? no SA, CA [21]
Mycena stylobates
(Pers.: Fr.) P.Kumm.
yes no AF, EU, NA, Japan [24]
Mycena sublucens
no yes Malaysia [17]
Mycena tintinnabulum
(Fr.) Quél.
yes no EU [31]
Mycena zephirus
(Fr.: Fr.) P.Kumm.
yes no EU [24][25]
Neonothopanus gardneri
(Berk. ex Gardner) Capelari, Desjardin, Perry, Asai & Stevani
yes yes SA [8][32]
Neonothopanus nambi
(Speg.) Petersen & Krisai-Greilhuber
? yes AU, SA, CA, Malaysia [33]
Nothopanus noctilucens
(Lév.) Singer
? yes Japan [34][35]
Omphalotus flagelliformis
Zhu L. Yang & B. Feng
yes yes China [36]
Omphalotus illudens
(Schwein.) Bresinsky & Besl.
yes yes EU, NA [4][11][12]
Omphalotus japonicus
(Kawam.) Kirchm. & O.K.Mill.
yes yes Japan [26][37][38]
Omphalotus mangensis
(J.Li & X.Hu) Kirchm. & O.K.Mill.
? yes China [39]
Omphalotus nidiformis
(Berk.) O.K.Mill.
? yes AU [40][41]
Omphalotus olearius
(DC.: Fr.) Singer
yes yes EU [11]
Omphalotus olivascens
H.E.Bigelow, O.K.Mill. & Thiers
no yes NA [42]
Panellus gloeocystidiatus
(Corner) Corner
? yes Japan, Malaysia [16][17][43]
Panellus luminescens
(Corner) Corner
? yes Malaysia [29][43]
Panellus pusillus
(Pers. ex Lév.) Burdsall & O.K.Mill.
yes yes AF, AU, NA, SA, Malaysia [35][44]
Panellus stipticus
(Bull.: Fr.) P.Karst.
yes yes AU, AF, EU, NA, SA, Japan [12][45]
Pleurotus decipiens
? yes Malaysia [33]
Pleurotus eugrammus var. radicicolus
no yes Japan, Malaysia [33]
Poromycena hanedai
? yes Japan [15]
Roridomyces irritans
(E.Horak) Rexer
no yes AU [30]
Roridomyces roridus
(Fr.) Rexer[a]
yes no EU, NA, SA, Japan [48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This species is given in Desjardin et al. (2008) as Mycena rorida, but both Index Fungorum and MycoBank indicate that Roridomyces rorida is the current name.[46][47]


  1. ^ a b Oliveira AG, Desjardin DE, Perry BA, Stevani CV. (2012). "Evidence that a single bioluminescent system is shared by all known bioluminescent fungal lineages". Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 11 (2): 848–52. doi:10.1039/c2pp25032b. 
  2. ^ Vydryakova GA, Psurtseva NV, Belova NV, Pashenova NV, Gitelson JI. (2009). "Luminous mushrooms and prospects of their use". Mikologiya i Fitopatologiya (in Russian) 43 (5): 369–76. ISSN 0026-3648. 
  3. ^ O'Kane DJ, Lingle WL, Porter D, Wampler JE. (1990). "Spectral analysis of bioluminescence of Panellus stypticus". Mycologia 82 (5): 607–16. doi:10.2307/3760051. 
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  5. ^ a b c Moore D, Robson GD, Trinci APF. (2011). 21st Century Guidebook to Fungi. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-521-18695-7. 
  6. ^ Desjardin DE, Oliveira AG, Stevani CV. (2008). "Fungi bioluminescence revisited". Photochemical & Photobiological sciences 7 (2): 170–82. doi:10.1039/b713328f. PMID 18264584. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Desjardin DE, Perry BA, Lodge DJ, Stevani CV, Nagasawa E. (2010). "Luminescent Mycena: new and noteworthy species". Mycologia 102 (2): 459–77. doi:10.3852/09-197. PMID 20361513. 
  8. ^ a b Capelari M, Desjardin DE, Perry BA, Asai T, Stevani CV. (2011). "Neonothopanus gardneri: a new combination for a bioluminescent agaric from Brazil". Mycologia 103 (6): 1433–40. doi:10.3852/11-097. PMID 21700638. 
  9. ^ a b Aravindakshan DM, Kumar TKA, Manimohan P. "A new bioluminescent species of Mycena sect. Exornatae from Kerala State, India" (PDF). Mycosphere 3 (5): 556–61. doi:10.5943/mycosphere/3/5/4. 
  10. ^ a b Shih Y-S, Chen C-Y, Lin W-W, Kao H-W. (Nov 2013). "Mycena kentingensis, a new species of luminous mushroom in Taiwan, with reference to its culture method". Mycological Progress. doi:10.1007/s11557-013-0939-x. 
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  12. ^ a b c d e f Berliner MD. (1961). "Diurnal periodicity of luminescence in three basidiomycetes". Science 134 (3481): 740. doi:10.1126/science.134.3481.740. PMID 17795289. 
  13. ^ a b c Mihail JD, Bruhn JN. (2007). "Dynamics of bioluminescence by Armillaria gallica, A. mellea and A. tabescens" (PDF). Mycologia 99 (3): 341–50. doi:10.3852/mycologia.99.3.341. PMID 17883025. 
  14. ^ Rishbeth J. (1986). "Some characteristics of English Armillaria species in culture". Transactions of The British Mycological Society 86 (2): 213–8. doi:10.1016/S0007-1536(86)80147-4. 
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  16. ^ a b Kobayasi Y. (1963). "Revision of the genus Dictyopanus with special references to the Japanese species". Bulletin of the National Science Museum, Tokyo 6: 359–64. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Corner EJH. (1954). "Further descriptions of luminous agarics". Transactions of the British Mycological Society 37 (3): 256–71. doi:10.1016/s0007-1536(54)80009-x. 
  18. ^ a b Liu P-G, Yang Z-L. (1994). "Studies of classification and geographic distribution of Laschia-complex from the Southern and Southeastern Yunnan, China". Acta Botanica Yunnanica (in Chinese) 16 (1): 47–52. 
  19. ^ Desjardin DE, Capelari M, Stevani CV. (2005). "A new bioluminescent agaric from São Paulo, Brazil" (PDF). Fungal Diversity 18 (9): 9–14. 
  20. ^ Zang M. (1979). "Some new species of higher fungi from Xizang (Tibet) of China". Acta Botanica Yunnanica 1 (2): 101–5. 
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  22. ^ a b c Chew AL, Tan Y-S, Desjardin DE, Musa MY, Sabaratnam V. (2014). "Four new bioluminescent taxa of Mycena sect. Calodontes from Peninsular Malaysia". Mycologia 106 (5): 976–88. doi:10.3852/13-274. PMID 24891424. 
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  46. ^ "GSD Species Synonymy: Roridomyces roridus (Fr.) Rexer". Species Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
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