Photographer Stumbles Upon Glowing Fungus Illuminating Washington Beach

Photographer Mathew Nichols was taking a late-night stroll along the Olympic Peninsula in Washington when he spotted something unusual.

Cutting through the dark night was a glowing green log. The color was so bright, it looked radioactive!

Photo: flickr.com/AirHaake License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Nichols snapped photos of the glowing fungus and shared them on Facebook. He wrote:

“WOW!!! Look at these glowing logs I found on the beach last night!! This is caused by a fungus and is a type of bioluminescence! The fungus glows as it expels energy while it consumes the decaying wood!! A true form of magic!!

I can’t wait to scour the Olympic Coast in the coming weeks to find more of this AMAZING phenomenon!! It glows so bright you can easily see it with the naked eye! What a magical place.”

The bioluminescence is truly magical.

Speaking with FOX Weather, Nichols shared that he’d been looking for the glowing fungus for weeks and finally found them.

He said the fungus that causes the glowing green color is known as foxfire. “I stepped onto the beach, and I could see a couple areas that were glowing. Excited, I ran closer where I came upon two different logs that were glowing,” he told FOX Weather.

Photo: flickr.com/ChattOconeeNF License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

According to the University of Chicago Library, foxfire, sometimes called fairy fire, was first observed thousands of years ago. The radioactive-like glow is emitted when a certain species of fungi are present on decaying wood.

The library notes that some 71 different species of fungi are bioluminescent (capable of glowing in the dark), though there’s still a lot that scientists don’t know about the trait. It’s speculated that the glowing color may be omitted as a way to attract insects that might then spread the mushroom’s spores.

Nature is so cool!

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