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June 2019

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Cover Story

Fluorescent Umbrellas Glowing after a Rainy Night – Mycena kentingensis

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The pileus and lamellae of Mycena kentingensis would both produce green florescent light. / Chung-Neng Chen
The pileus and lamellae of Mycena kentingensis would both
produce green florescent light. / Chung-Neng Chen

Article / Hui-Ying Lui Photo / Chung-Neng Chen

Mycena kentingensis is one of the species that does not reveal its true self with the lights on. This new species which likes to grow on rotten bamboos and dead woods, is a luminous mushroom that both its mycelium (the part that grows in the wood) and its pileus and lamellae of the fruiting body would glow in the dark. Mycena chlorophos, another luminous mushroom that can be found in Kenting, has a bigger pileus than Mycena kentingensis.

Luminous mushrooms is a tidy bunch. They are usually only found in an environment that is almost free of pollution. More importantly, studies have confirmed that in some luminous mushrooms, the light they create have the effect of attracting insects at night, which is presumed to be related to using insects to spread spores, so no light pollution is very important to their survival.

Child ren would always ask , dose this light burn? Luminous mushrooms are like fireflies, they are both creatures that produce “cold light”. Although we always use “luminous” or “fire” to name them or describe their lights, in fact, the illuminating mechanism hidden in them is very different from what is called “fluorescence” in physics. The fluorescence in physics needs to be excited by an external light source. The light of luminous mushrooms i s a phenomenon produced by an enzyme called “luciferase” to oxidize the chemical “luciferin” in their body. Therefore, it is different from the “fire light” we often see, and it does not burn.

After continuous days of heavy rain (especially after rainy season or typhoon), if you look closely at the bamboo forest from Sheding’s Small Rift Valley to Yongchuan, you will have a chance to discover their faint green fluorescent light. Mycena kentingensis prefers a dark and humid environment. Once the weather is clear and the air becomes too dry, it is more difficult to see their appearance. Plus their fruiting body which are easier to spot can usually only last for about three days. So it’s great luck to be able to see them in person! If you follow an interpreter from the Sheding community and let them lead the way, the chance to see these mushrooms will greatly increase!

Groups of ovigerous Metasesarma aubryi crabs. /
Provided by Kenting National Park Headquarters

Additional night show at Kenting- Land Crab Marching under the Moonlight

Every year from June to October of the lunar calendar during full moon is the peak time for land crabs to release their young back into the ocean. On the night of the full moon, mother land crabs will start from their habitats in the coastal woods, carrying their eggs moving toward the ocean. Ovigerous crabs would rush into the sea at a very fast speed, releasing the larvae following the crashing waves, then come back on shore to their habitat. The land crab larvae would grow up in the ocean, then return to land following the estuary of the coast. Houwan, Banana Bay to Shadao, and the Gangkou area of the Hengchun Peninsula are hot spots for land crabs. The main land crab species in each region are different. Please follow the lead of a community interpreter and obey the traffic control on land crab’s marching site, so that they can head toward and return from the sea safely.

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