Thursday, 13 October 2016

It's life Jim but not as we know it ...

Welcome to the world of slime …






Although their appearance might suggest that slime moulds are fungi, they are neither fungi nor moulds; though they often form spore-bearing structures that resemble those of true fungi. Most slime moulds are generally deemed by taxonomists to be protists; the oddities of the natural world that don't seem to fit in with the rest of our global taxonomic grouping system - though this classification is still open to some debate.

Although
 many species fruit on decaying wood, they do not form penetrating and absorptive masses of hyphae in the woody
 substrate. Instead, slime moulds form structures called
 plasmodia, which are naked masses of 
protoplasm [a colourless material comprising the living part of a cell], which can move about and engulf particles, in an 
amoeboid-like manner, in order to maximize the nutrients they can draw from their food source. The plasmodia creep about over 
the surfaces of resources, consuming bacteria, fungal spores, plants, protozoa, and small particles of non-living organic
 matter. This continues until the plasmodia convert into spore-bearing
 structures. They are strange and wonderfully varied in colour and form and have names to conjure with such as Wolf's Milk Slime Mould (Lycogala epidendrum) and Dog Vomit Slime Mould (Fuligo septic).

Nice ...

Weird but definitely wonderful ...

References:

O’Reilly, P. (2016). Fascinated by Fungi – exploring the majesty and mystery, facts and fantasy of the quirkiest kingdom on Earth. Llandysul: First Nature, pp.78-79.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, pp. 334-335.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly wouldn't fancy those on my toast for breakfast, fascinating though they are. Life that has fallen in the cracks, as it were.

    ReplyDelete