Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Slime Molds

In the previous blog I briefly mentioned finding slime molds on the cut log next to the trail and the mossy log with the Deadly Galarina. Here are some of the photos I took of those.



Slime molds are not a fungus, an animal, plant or bacteria but they are a new independent group of organism. There are around one thousand know species found worldwide. I think collectively the true slime molds are called myxomycetes and they are the ones I most often find since the cellular slime molds are only visible through a microscope.

This one is Metatrichia vesparia and I find it alot.


I'm not sure what this one is. The enlarged view is below.


As seen through the microscope.

I don’t even begin to understand them; nevertheless I love to look for slime molds. Currently our weather is wet and drizzly making it good for setting the stage for slime mold growth. Most of the times I find them on damp logs but they can be found on the ground, leaves and standing dead trees.

I found several on this log as well.




The spores are just about every where so it makes it relatively easy to grow them. Pull off a little piece of bark, soak it and then place onto a wet paper towel in a closed container and wait. Try several pieces for better results.



I find them interesting because they come in a variety of colors and structures that can be seen without a hand lens. Of course a lens shows more fascinating details.

I found this one and the following slime molds last year.




I think the common name for this one is Wolf's Milk.


Stemonitis splendens, Chocolate Tube Slime Mold


A biologist and mycologist friend told me you can feed them and watch them travel. The can go as fast as 1 millimeter per hour as they flow over and ingest their food. She was encouraging me to do so but I haven’t yet. Maybe that will be a good winter project.


Be sure to stop by ABC Wednesday for other interesting things.

14 comments:

Carolyn H said...

Very cool info. I think I will try growing them myself this weekend. Thanks!

squirrel said...

I have a collection that I keep in medium size match box like containers after they are dried. They are always fun to look at.
Good luck.

Gaelyn said...

These slime molds are truly amazing. They really do look like beads. I always thought they were a fungi, now I know better. Thanks. Your macros are great and realy show the details. Sounds kind of interesting to grow them inside to watch them move. I'll have to think about that. Maybe a cool Ranger program.

Carolyn Ford said...

Amazing and great captures of something not seen by many of us too often, if at all. Thank you for the information, too!

Woodswalker said...

Ooooh! Slime moulds! Such amazing shapes and colors! I think that a whole new kingdom has to be invented for them. They can move about and feed and digest like an animal, then plant themselves and grow structures that look like plants. Amazing! Great photos!

Tumblewords: said...

What a surprise! I had no idea. Sounds like a neat experiment and I'm tempted to give it a whirl. Thanks for a doubly interesting post and some super shots!

Rinkly Rimes said...

Let's hope they don't get out of hand like 'The Day of the Triffids'!

jay said...

I've learned something today! I didn't know about slime moulds at all, just lumping them in with funghi, which I presume everyone did at one time!

It would explain the brown 'funghi' I found on a fallen tree in May. Looked just like some of the pictures I've now found of slime moulds!

Thanks for the info!

Roger Owen Green said...

a new organism? fascinating - I did not know that!

Grace and Bradley said...

Very interesting, have never pay attention of know about them before. Thanks for the information and have a nice weekend.

Dragonstar said...

Your photos are incredible. I knew nothing about slime molds before, but now I'll have to look into them. Thanks for an interesting post.

On behalf of the ABC Team, thanks for participating.

Rose said...

These are fascinating! I would have assumed they were fungi; now I'll have to look closer at the growths I see on dead logs and other vegetation.

michael bird said...

Very interesting stuff. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for their southern Indiana relatives.

Jackie Callahan said...

Beautiful Photos! Fascinating Subject!