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Devilish shine

Henrique Domingos / IPBIO-Iporanga

During a nighttime walk in Caverna do Diabo (Devil’s Cave) State Park, situated in the interior of São Paulo State, researchers spotted green lights at the foot of a tree. It was a patch of bioluminescent cup-shaped mushroom, each less than half a millimeter in diameter, that differed from any previously described in the region—even belonging to an entirely new genus. The scientific name, Eoscyphella luciurceolata, is a reference to its luminescence and shape, in addition to the name Lucifer, in homage to the cave where it was found. “Our next challenge is to grow it in the lab so that we can sequence its DNA and see if the genes involved in its bioluminescence are different to other species,” says Cassius Stevani, a chemistry professor who participated in the scientific description of the fungus.

Image submitted by Cassius Stevani, a professor at the Chemistry Institute of the University of São Paulo