Animals with Spark

Animals with Spark

Catherine Griffin
Published: 06/25/2012


Glowing mushrooms at the Sentosa Flower Show in 2011. Photo:hslo / CC BY-SA 2.0

Top Fungus-Neonothopanus gardneri
This highly poisonous mushroom was first discovered in 1840 by an English botanist named George Gardner. It wasn’t until 2005, however, that the mushroom was spotted again. Two scientists from Sao Paulo University and the University of Georgia were studying monkeys in Brazil when they noticed glowing mushrooms at the base of a palm. In an interview by USA today, Dennis Desjardin, a professor at San Francisco State University, says “It glows more brightly than almost all other luminescent mushrooms.” In fact, the shroom’s green hue is so bright that if you held it up to a newspaper, you could read it in the dark.


The deep-sea scyphozoan jellyfish, Atolla wyvillei, as seen under white light. Photo: Edith A. Widder, Operation Deep Scope 2005 Exploration, NOAA-OE.

Top Jellyfish- Atolla Jelly
While the comb jelly (although technically belonging to the phylum, Ctenophora) wins on our list for having the most colorful lights, the atolla jellyfish probably wins for being the brightest. The jellyfish is found in the deep ocean and possesses a red-brown hue, the right color for hiding in waters where little light on the red spectrum reaches. But when threatened by a predator, the atolla jellyfish lights up in a display that can be seen for three hundred feet beneath the waves. The circular, moving light is called a “burglar alarm” by scientists from the NOAA, and is theorized to attract larger predators that might eat the one trying to eat the jellyfish.

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