No, I don’t mean the movie Firefox about the Russian Jet Fighter that Clint Eastwood stole. I mean that eerie glow that you see in the dark of the night. There were a series of books written about life and times in years gone by in the Appalachian Mountains that had the title “Foxfire”. The mountain folk had a lot of tales and superstitions that included that eerie glow.
I had heard of it but in all the time that I spent in the woods, I had never seen it until I moved on this property 26 years ago. One night I saw a greenish glow coming from an old rotting log that I had accidently kicked. It is simply amazing and a little eerie. It seems that it is a bioluminescence fungus.
Not only does the fruiting body glow as in this definition (click here), but the mycelium (the hair like main mass of the mushroom which is many times as large as the fruiting body that we see) also glows. (Click here) I have some pictures of it but can not find them.
The glow coming from the rotting log was coming from the mycelium. There were no fruiting bodies seen. Maybe they had not formed yet. If you kicked the log, it spread the glowing and since the night was very dark, the glow was easily seen by all. Of course, it isn’t bright enough to be seen in the daytime.
It has always been hard for me to grasp the idea that living things can produce light. The lightning bug for instance, where do they charge their batteries? And glow worms? I guess they are the female lightning bug and can’t fly. The males fly around with the guys and the wives stay home. Now how did they manage that?
When I was a kid, way back about 60 years ago, I sent off for a Captain Video glow in the dark belt. When you turned off the lights, it would shine ever so bright. Never could understand that either. There are glowing toys, paint, plants, fungi, and living creatures. The depths of the oceans have produced creatures that use light to attract their food, a mate, or what-ever. The squid can change colors.
There is just so much in this universe that is hard for me to understand, and bioluminescence is one of them.
How many of you have been fortunate enough to see foxfire? If you did, was it the fruiting bodies or the mycelium?