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The Frog and The Mushroom: A Surprising Connection from India

Compiled/ partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/ partly written by Melvin Durai
April 2024
The Frog and The Mushroom: A Surprising Connection from India

Mushrooms thrive in many environments, getting their nutrition from decaying organic matter or through symbiotic relationships with living plants or trees. So it wasn’t surprising that a group of scientists spotted a tiny mushroom at a roadside pond in Karnataka last year. But exactly where the mushroom was growing did surprise the scientists—it was growing on the side of a small golden-backed frog.

Lohit Y T, a rivers and wetlands specialist with World Wildlife Fund-India in Bengaluru, was among the group that spotted the frog and revealed the unusual sighting in a recent issue of the journal Reptiles and Amphibians.

“When I first observed the frog with the mushroom, I was amazed and intrigued by the sight,” Lohit told CNN via email. “My thought was to document it, as this phenomenon is something we have never heard of.”

The scientists observed the frog moving around on a twig, with the mushroom staying in its place like an appendage. They did not capture the frog to study the phenomenon further and determine the exact relationship between frog and mushroom.

Among the theories is one from Karthikeyan Vasudevan, chief scientist for the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Telangana, India. It’s possible, he told CNN, that “there is a small piece of woody debris under the skin of the frog after it got lodged in the skin and it has sprouted a mushroom from it.”

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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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