You don’t see this kind of thing every day.
On a nature walk with friends, an Indian scientist discovered something surprising: a frog that appeared to have a fungus growing on its back.
in a interview with him New York TimesLohit YT, the river and wetland specialist, said he and his trekking group of fellow scientists had simply been looking for interesting animals, as one does, in India’s Western Ghats region last summer when they came across the fascinating frog.
“There were five of us,” Lohit said, “busy looking for the species and avoiding leeches.”
While observing a group of Rao’s golden-backed intermediate frogs, which are about the size of a thumb, scientists noticed something strange: a growth on the back of one of them. Someone took a photo and upon closer inspection, it looked like the tiny amphibian had an even smaller fungus growing on its back.
Although the scientists did not take home the curious creature in question, Lohit posted close-up photographs online. In response, amateur and professional mycologists, or those who study fungi, said it looked like a bonnet mushroom. Collectively known as Mycenae, this type of fungus lives primarily on decaying plant matter, the NYT he explains, which makes the one that appeared to be on the back of the Ghats’ small golden-backed frog so mysterious.
Although many fungi grow on living things, including the yeast that grows on our skin, the vast majority do not become fungi, which are only produced when a spore encounters a nutrient-rich surface and sprouts its threadlike cells known as mycelia. On it. Only if the mycelia eat enough do fungi form.
To be fair, there are some documented cases of fungi growing from living things, such as zombies and potentially medicinal Cordyceps fungus that takes over the body and brain of insects, controlling and then killing the host.
But in the case of this unique frog and mushroom pair, both the animal and the mushroom appeared to be very much alive, something that until recently was totally unheard of.
Last year, a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen led by cap mushroom expert Christoffer Bugge Harder made a somewhat similar discovery: Mycena that It grew on the living roots of trees.. As Harder said, he did not participate in the discovery of the frog, TimesI would have bet money that the mushroom seen in Nohit’s photo was Mycena, but since neither the frog nor the mushroom were returned, it’s impossible to say for sure from just a photo.
Despite the lack of physical evidence, the observation itself is enough of a marvel to amaze scientists, and perhaps one will go out and find the frog, or another similar one, as a specimen.
More about curious biology: Wildflowers adapt to insect apocalypse by pollinating themselves, scientists say