Friday, May 08, 2009

slime mold

We have a big tree stump in the backyard and it has recently developed this crazy toxic-looking goo. It is apparently resistant to the monsoon rains. It also has a giant cloud of tiny flies living with it.

orange goo

Slime molds are not fungi. Because they can move.
A myxo begins life as a microscopic spore. After it’s shaken out like a salt grain from its "parent" fruiting body, it germinates to produce a cell that in turn joins another of its fellows to form a zygote. The zygote devours bacteria found in decaying wood and elsewhere, increases its size by nuclear division, then masses into a blob called a plasmodium. The plasmodium—which can be clear, a preppy khaki, hot pink, or a flashy yellow, orange or red—acts like a giant amoeba, gorging on its prey of bacteria, spores and even other myxos until it runs out of food, whereupon it hikes off at about 1/25 of an inch per hour to a suitable location to sprout the fruiting bodies. The ideal spot is high enough to catch a passing breeze and dry enough to avoid fungi. Then the whole program repeats itself. - more here
This is not so nice. Where is this enormous slime mold going to go when it is time to fruit? Is it going to try to come into the house? It might be smart enough to do it.

orange goo

I am kind of excited to see what its fruiting bodies look like though. Sometimes they are really interesting.

slime mold

2 comments:

billo said...

Why is the khaki preppy? Maybe it's just trying to make a good impression.

hthr said...

The slime mold is named Zack Morris.