Monday, 21 January 2013

Bioluminescence: lighting up the natural world

The forest floor is barely visible in the low light conditions when it suddenly bursts into life, becoming a neon green blanket of light.

The source of this eerie light is a bioluminescent fungus, known only by the name given to it by locals: "chimpanzee fire".

Filmmaker Verity White was able to catch this phenomenon on camera for the Congo episode of the BBC/Discovery series Africa using long-exposure time-lapse photography techniques.
This bizarre species was filmed in the Goualougo triangle, near the Dzanga river in Congo Brazzaville.

The existence of the fungus was so little-known that even experienced field scientists had never seen it.

It was only when Ms White asked local guides if they had ever heard of the glowing fungus that its whereabouts came to light.

"On the off-chance of seeing it, I took a time-lapse camera with me," Ms White tells BBC Nature.

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