An scientist found the frog while on a nature walk with fellow scientists in India’s Western Ghats region
Mushrooms typically grow in dark and partly sunny areas, which is why you’ll often find them on forest floors or manure in a field but an Indian scientist was baffled when he found mushrooms growing out of a frog.
River and wetlands specialist Lohit YT discovered a frog with a mushroom growing out of its back while he was on a nature walk with fellow scientists in India’s Western Ghats region, The New York Times reported.
When checking out a bunch of Rao’s intermediate golden-backed frogs (Indosylvirana intermedia), which are about the size of a thumb, they noticed a frog with a strange growth on their back and snapped a photo for closer inspection.
It appeared that the minuscule amphibian had an even-teenier mushroom growing out of its back.
Lohit posted the close-up photos of it on his Instagram where amateur and professional mycologists responded to the images saying that the growth looked like a bonnet mushroom.
According to the Times, this type of mushroom primarily lives on decaying plant matter, making the one on the frog’s back mysterious.
Most fungi, including yeast on our skin, don’t turn into mushrooms. Instead, mushrooms form when a spore contacts a nutrient-rich surface and sprouts Mycelia, thread-like cells, into it.
It’s only if the Mycelia get enough to eat that mushrooms are formed.
Mushrooms growing from living beings, such as the Cordyceps fungus, can be potentially medicinal and take over insects’ bodies and brains, controlling and then killing the host.
However, in the unique frog-fungus pair, both the animal and the mushroom appeared alive which is rare.
Last year, a team of researchers at the University of Copenhagen led by bonnet mushroom expert Christoffer Bugge Harder had a similar discovery: Mycena that grew on the living roots of trees.
Harder told the Times, he’d bet money that the mushroom seen perched on Lohit’s photo was Mycena but because neither the frog nor the mushroom was brought back, it’s impossible to say for sure with just a photo.