Slime mould

Slime mould

Overview

Slime mold or mould is a broad term describing protist
Protist
Protists are a diverse group of eukaryotic microorganisms. Historically, protists were treated as the kingdom Protista, which includes mostly unicellular organisms that do not fit into the other kingdoms, but this group is contested in modern taxonomy...

s that use spores to reproduce. Slime molds were formerly classified as fungi, but are no longer considered part of this kingdom.

Their common name refers to part of some of these organisms' life cycles where they can appear as gelatinous "slime". This is mostly seen with the myxomycetes, which are the only macroscopic slime molds.

Slime molds have been found all over the world and feed on microorganisms that live in any type of dead plant material.
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Encyclopedia

Slime mold or mould is a broad term describing protist
Protist
Protists are a diverse group of eukaryotic microorganisms. Historically, protists were treated as the kingdom Protista, which includes mostly unicellular organisms that do not fit into the other kingdoms, but this group is contested in modern taxonomy...

s that use spores to reproduce. Slime molds were formerly classified as fungi, but are no longer considered part of this kingdom.

Their common name refers to part of some of these organisms' life cycles where they can appear as gelatinous "slime". This is mostly seen with the myxomycetes, which are the only macroscopic slime molds.

Slime molds have been found all over the world and feed on microorganisms that live in any type of dead plant material. For this reason, these organisms are usually found in soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, lawn
Lawn
A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

s, and on the forest floor
Forest floor
The forest floor, also called detritus, duff and the O horizon, is one of the most distinctive features of a forest ecosystem. It mainly consists of shed vegetative parts, such as leaves, branches, bark, and stems, existing in various stages of decomposition above the soil surface...

, commonly on deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 logs. However, in tropical areas
Tropic
A tropic can refer to:In geography, either of two circles of latitude:*Tropic of Cancer, at 23° 26' 16" N*Tropic of Capricorn, at 23° 26' 16" S...

 they are also common on inflorescences, fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s and in aerial situations (e.g., in the canopy of trees) and also grow in air conditioners, especially when the drain is blocked. In urban areas, they are found on mulch
Mulch
In agriculture and gardening, is a protective cover placed over the soil to retain moisture, reduce erosion, provide nutrients, and suppress weed growth and seed germination. Mulching in gardens and landscaping mimics the leaf cover that is found on forest floors....

 or even in the leaf mold
Leaf mold
Leaf mold is a form of compost produced by the fungal breakdown of shrub and tree leaves, which are generally too dry, acidic, or low in nitrogen for bacterial decomposition.-Description:...

 in gutter
Gutter
panels of a comic strip or comic book page*Gutter , the space between panes of postage stamps that creates configurations of "gutter pairs" or "gutter blocks"*Gutter, in interface design, the blank spaces that separate rows and columns in screen...

s. One of the most commonly encountered slime molds is the yellow Physarum polycephalum
Physarum polycephalum
Physarum polycephalum belongs to the supergroup Amoebozoa, phylum Mycetozoa, and class Myxogastria. P. polycephalum, often referred to as the “many-headed slime,” is a slime mold that inhabits shady, cool, moist areas, such as decaying leaves and logs...

, found both in nature in forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s in temperate zones, as well as in classroom
Classroom
A classroom is a room in which teaching or learning activities can take place. Classrooms are found in educational institutions of all kinds, including public and private schools, corporations, and religious and humanitarian organizations...

s and laboratories
Laboratory
A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. The title of laboratory is also used for certain other facilities where the processes or equipment used are similar to those in scientific laboratories...

.

Most slime molds are smaller than a few centimeters, but some species may reach sizes of up to several square meters and masses of up to 30 grams. Many have striking colours such as yellow, brown and white.

Older classification


Slime molds, as a group, are polyphyletic. They were originally represented by the subkingdom Gymnomycota in the Fungi kingdom and included the defunct phyla Myxomycota, Acrasiomycota
Acrasiomycota
Acrasidae is a family of slime molds which belongs to the protist group Percolozoa. The name acrasio- comes from the Greek Akrasia, meaning "acting against one's judgement." This group consists of cellular slime molds....

 and Labyrinthulomycota. Today, slime molds have been divided between several supergroups, none of which are included in the kingdom Fungi.

Slime molds can generally be divided into two main groups.
  • A plasmodial
    Plasmodium (slime mold)
    A plasmodium is the macroscopic form of the protist known as a slime mold....

     slime mold involves numerous individual cells attached to each other, forming one large membrane. This "supercell" (a syncytium
    Syncytium
    In biology, a syncytium is a large cell-like structure; filled with cytoplasm and containing many nuclei. Most cells in eukaryotic organisms have a single nucleus; syncytia are specialized forms used by various organisms.The term may also refer to cells that are connected by specialized membrane...

    ) is essentially a bag of cytoplasm
    Cytoplasm
    The cytoplasm is a small gel-like substance residing between the cell membrane holding all the cell's internal sub-structures , except for the nucleus. All the contents of the cells of prokaryote organisms are contained within the cytoplasm...

     containing thousands of individual nuclei. See heterokaryosis
    Heterokaryosis
    Heterokaryosis is a term used in biology meaning to have two or more genetically different nuclei within the same mycelium of a fungus or other life form. This is a special type of syncytium.A heterokaryon is a cell with more than one nucleus of differing genetic origin...

    .
  • By contrast, cellular slime molds spend most of their lives as individual unicellular protist
    Protist
    Protists are a diverse group of eukaryotic microorganisms. Historically, protists were treated as the kingdom Protista, which includes mostly unicellular organisms that do not fit into the other kingdoms, but this group is contested in modern taxonomy...

    s, but when a chemical signal is secreted, they assemble into a cluster that acts as one organism.

Modern classification


In more strict terms, slime molds comprise the amoebozoan
Amoebozoa
The Amoebozoa are a major group of amoeboid protozoa, including the majority that move by means ofinternal cytoplasmic flow. Their pseudopodia are characteristically blunt and finger-like,...

 group of the mycetozoans. Mycetozoa, which includes the defunct phylum Myxomycota (now Myxogastria
Myxogastria
Myxogastria is a class of Mycetozoa, itself a grouping of slime molds, that contains 5 orders, 14 families, 62 genera, and 888 species. Notable examples within Myxogastria include the genus Stemonitis and the species Physarum polycephalum...

), includethe following three groups:
  • Myxogastria or myxomycetes: syncytial or plasmodial slime molds
  • Dictyosteliida: cellular slime molds or dictyostelids.
  • Protostelids.

Even at this level of classification there are conflicts to be resolved. Recent molecular evidence shows that the first two groups are likely to be monophyletic and the protostelids however to be polyphyletic. For this reason, scientists are currently trying to understand the relationships among these three groups.

The most commonly encountered are the Myxogastria
Myxogastria
Myxogastria is a class of Mycetozoa, itself a grouping of slime molds, that contains 5 orders, 14 families, 62 genera, and 888 species. Notable examples within Myxogastria include the genus Stemonitis and the species Physarum polycephalum...

. A common slime mold which forms tiny brown tufts on rotting logs is Stemonitis
Stemonitis
Stemonitis is a distinctive genus of slime molds found throughout the world . They are characterised by the tall brown sporangia, supported on slender stalks, which grow in clusters on rotting wood...

. Another form which lives in rotting logs and is often used in research is Physarum polycephalum
Physarum polycephalum
Physarum polycephalum belongs to the supergroup Amoebozoa, phylum Mycetozoa, and class Myxogastria. P. polycephalum, often referred to as the “many-headed slime,” is a slime mold that inhabits shady, cool, moist areas, such as decaying leaves and logs...

. In logs it has the appearance of a slimy web-work of yellow threads, up to a few feet in size. Fuligo
Fuligo
Fuligo is a genus of plasmodial slime mold. In Finland one unusually prominent species with a bright yellow plasmodium, Fuligo septimia, was believed to be used by witches to spoil their neighbor's milk. This gives it the name paranvoi, meaning butter of the familiar spirit....

forms yellow crusts in mulch.

The Dictyosteliida, cellular slime molds, are distantly related to the plasmodial slime molds and have a very different lifestyle. Their amoebae do not form huge coenocytes, and remain individual. They live in similar habitats and feed on microorganisms. When food runs out and they are ready to form sporangia, they do something radically different. They release signal molecules into their environment, by which they find each other and create swarms. These amoeba then join up into a tiny multicellular slug-like coordinated creature, which crawls to an open lit place and grows into a fruiting body. Some of the amoebae become spores to begin the next generation, but some of the amoebae sacrifice themselves to become a dead stalk, lifting the spores up into the air.

The Protostelids have characters intermediate between the previous two groups, but they are much smaller, the fruiting bodies only forming one to a few spores.

Non-amoebozoan slime moulds include:
  • Acrasiomycota: slime molds which belong to the Heterolobosea within the super group Excavata. They have a similar life style to Dictyostelids
    Dictyostelium
    Dictyostelium are Dictyostelid single celled eukaryotic, phagotrophic bacterivores usually present and often abundant in terrestrial ecosystems and are a normal component of the microflora in cells that help in soil balance between bacteria and soils. The amoeba are often grouped as slime mold ....

    , but their amoebae behave differently, having eruptive pseudopodia.
  • Labyrinthulomycota
    Labyrinthulomycetes
    The Labyrinthulomycetes also known as Labyrinthulomycota or Slime nets are a group of protists that produce a network of filaments or tubes, which serve as tracks for the cells to glide along and absorb nutrients for them. There are two main groups, the labyrinthulids and thraustochytrids...

    : slime nets which belong to the super group Chromalveolata as the class Labyrinthulomycetes. They are marine and form labyrinthine networks of tubes in which amoeba without pseudopods can travel.
  • Plasmodiophorids
    Phytomyxea
    The Phytomyxea are a group of protists that are parasites of plants. A more common name for them is the plasmodiophorids, but this does not always include Phagomyxa. They typically develop within plant cells, causing the infected tissue to grow into a gall or scab...

    : parasitic protists which belong to the super group Rhizaria
    Rhizaria
    The Rhizaria are a species-rich supergroup of unicellular eukaryotes. This supergroup was proposed by Cavalier-Smith in 2002. They vary considerably in form, but for the most part they are amoeboids with filose, reticulose, or microtubule-supported pseudopods...

    . They can cause cabbage club root disease
    Clubroot
    Clubroot is a common disease of cabbages, radishes, turnips and other plants belonging to the family Cruciferae . It is caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, which was once considered a slime mold but is now put in the group Phytomyxea. It has as many as nine races. Gall formation or distortion takes...

     and powdery scab tuber disease
    Powdery scab
    Powdery scab, is a disease that happens to tubers. It is caused by the cercozoan Spongospora subterranea, is widespread in potato growing countries. Symptoms of powdery scab include small lesions in the early stages of the disease, progressing to raised pustules containing a powdery mass. Powdery...

    . The Plasmodiophorids also form coenocyte
    Coenocyte
    A coenocyte is a multinucleate cell. It can result from multiple nuclear divisions without accompanying cell divisions, or from cellular aggregation followed by dissolution of the cell membranes inside the mass. Coenocytes are found in fungi and some protists, such as algae and slime mold. Some...

    s but are internal parasites of plants (e.g., Club root disease of cabbages).
  • Fonticula
    Fonticula
    Fonticula is a cellular slime mold which forms a fruiting body in a volcano shape. As long ago as 1979 it has been known to not have a close relationship with either the Dictyosteliida or the Acrasidae, the two well-established groups of cellular slime molds...

    is a cellular slime mold which forms a fruiting body in a volcano shape. Fonticula is not closely related to either the Dictyosteliida or the Acrasidae. A 2009 paper finds it to be related to Nuclearia
    Nuclearia
    Nuclearia is a nucleariid genus.Species include:* Nuclearia delicatula* Nuclearia moebiusi* Nuclearia pattersoni Dyková, Veverková, Fiala, Macháčková & Pecková, 2003* Nuclearia simplex* Nuclearia thermophila...

    , which in turn is related to fungi.

Grouping Genera Morphology
Amoebozoa
Amoebozoa
The Amoebozoa are a major group of amoeboid protozoa, including the majority that move by means ofinternal cytoplasmic flow. Their pseudopodia are characteristically blunt and finger-like,...

 > Conosa
Conosa
Conosa is a grouping of Amoebozoa. It is subdivided into two infraphyla – Mycetozoa and Archamoebae.Conosa includes the species Dictyostelium discoideum and Entamoeba histolytica, among others....

 > Mycetozoa
Mycetozoa
Mycetozoa is a grouping of slime molds.-Classification:It can be divided into dictyostelid, myxogastrid, and protostelid groups.The mycetozoan groups all fit into the unikont supergroup Amoebozoa, whereas most other slime molds fit into various bikont groups .-Utility in research:Dictyostelids are...


Myxogastria
Myxogastria
Myxogastria is a class of Mycetozoa, itself a grouping of slime molds, that contains 5 orders, 14 families, 62 genera, and 888 species. Notable examples within Myxogastria include the genus Stemonitis and the species Physarum polycephalum...

: Cribraria
Cribraria
Cribraria is a genus of Amoebozoa, including the species Cribraria purpurea....

, Lycogala
Lycogala
Lycogala is a genus of Amoebozoa, including the species Lycogala epidendrum....

, Tubifera
Tubifera
Tubifera is a genus of Amoebozoa, including the species Tubifera casparyi....

, Echinostelium
Echinostelium
Echinostelium is a genus of slime mould, and the only genus in the family Echinosteliaceae, or Echinosteliidae. It was discovered by Heinrich Anton de Bary in 1855, apparently near Frankfurt am Main. It has an "apogamic" life cycle; only minute plasmodia are produced, which have never been seen to...

, Fuligo
Fuligo
Fuligo is a genus of plasmodial slime mold. In Finland one unusually prominent species with a bright yellow plasmodium, Fuligo septimia, was believed to be used by witches to spoil their neighbor's milk. This gives it the name paranvoi, meaning butter of the familiar spirit....

, Lepidoderma
Lepidoderma
Adelophthalmus is a genus of prehistoric eurypterid of the family Adelophthalmidae.-Description:Adelophthalmus is distinguishable by its elongate body, with spurs on the segments; its walking legs, which lack spines; and its long styliform telson.-Species:Adelophthalmus Jordan in Jordan & von...

, Physarum
Physarum
Physarum is a genus of slime molds containing the following species:*Physarum albescens*Physarum album*Physarum bivalve*Physarum bogoriense*Physarum cinereum*Physarum compressum*Physarum confertum...

, Comatricha
Comatricha
Comatricha is a genus of Amoebozoa. It includes the species Comatricha nigricapillitia....

, Stemonitis
Stemonitis
Stemonitis is a distinctive genus of slime molds found throughout the world . They are characterised by the tall brown sporangia, supported on slender stalks, which grow in clusters on rotting wood...

, Arcyria
Arcyria
Arcyria is a genus of Amoebozoa. It includes the species Arcyria ferruginea ....

, Trichia
Trichia
Trochulus, common name hairy snails, is a taxonomic genus of small air-breathing land snails, pulmonate gastropod mollusks in the family Hygromiidae.- Taxonomy :Trichia Hartmann, 1840 is a junior synonym of Trochulus Chemnitz, 1786....

Syncytial or plasmodial slime molds

Dictyosteliida: Dictyostelium
Dictyostelium
Dictyostelium are Dictyostelid single celled eukaryotic, phagotrophic bacterivores usually present and often abundant in terrestrial ecosystems and are a normal component of the microflora in cells that help in soil balance between bacteria and soils. The amoeba are often grouped as slime mold ....

, Polysphondylium
Polysphondylium
Polysphondylium is a species of cellular slime mould, including the species Polysphondylium pallidum....

, Acytostelium
Acytostelium
Acytostelium is a genus of Dictyostelid.Species include:* Acytostelium anastomosans* Acytostelium digitatum* Acytostelium ellipticum* Acytostelium leptosomum* Acytostelium longisorophorum* Acytostelium serpentarium...

Cellular slime molds

Protostelida: Planoprotostelium, Protostelium
Intermediate between myxomycetes and dictyostelids, but they are much smaller, the fruiting bodies only forming one to a few spores.
Rhizaria
Rhizaria
The Rhizaria are a species-rich supergroup of unicellular eukaryotes. This supergroup was proposed by Cavalier-Smith in 2002. They vary considerably in form, but for the most part they are amoeboids with filose, reticulose, or microtubule-supported pseudopods...

 > Cercozoa
Cercozoa
The Cercozoa are a group of protists. They are sometimes described as a kingdom.-Characteristics:The group includes most amoeboids and flagellates that feed by means of filose pseudopods. These may be restricted to part of the cell surface, but there is never a true cytostome or mouth as found in...

 > Phytomyxea
Phytomyxea
The Phytomyxea are a group of protists that are parasites of plants. A more common name for them is the plasmodiophorids, but this does not always include Phagomyxa. They typically develop within plant cells, causing the infected tissue to grow into a gall or scab...

Lignieria, Membranosorus, Octomyxa, Phagomyxa, Plasmodiophora
Plasmodiophora
Plasmodiophora is a genus of Rhizaria.It includes the species Plasmodiophora brassicae, which causes the disease cabbage clubroot.- External links :* Plasmodiophorida...

, Polymyxa, Sorodiscus, Sorosphaera, Spongospora, Tetramyxa, Woronina
Parasitic protists which can cause cabbage club root disease and powdery scab tuber disease. They form coenocytes but are internal parasites of plants.
Excavata
Excavate
The excavates are a major kingdom of unicellular eukaryotes, often known as Excavata. The phylogenetic category Excavata, proposed by Cavalier-Smith in 2002, contains a variety of free-living and symbiotic forms, and also includes some important parasites of humans.-Characteristics:Many excavates...

 > Percolozoa
Percolozoa
The Percolozoa are a group of colourless protozoa, including many that can transform between amoeboid, flagellate, and encysted stages.-Terminology and classification:...

 > Heterolobosea > Acrasida
Acrasis Cellular slime molds which have a similar life style to dictyostelids, but their amoebae behave differently, having eruptive pseudopodia.
Chromalveolate
Chromalveolate
Chromalveolata is a eukaryote supergroup first proposed by Thomas Cavalier-Smith as a refinement of his kingdom Chromista, which was first put forward in 1981. Chromalveolata was proposed to represent the result of a single secondary endosymbiosis between a line descending from a bikont and a red...

 > Heterokontophyta > Labyrinthulida
Labyrinthulids, Labyrinthula
Labyrinthula
Labyrinthula is a genus of heterokont, comprising ten species....

, Thraustochytrids, Aplanochytrium, Labyrinthuloides, Japonochytrium, Schizochytrium, Thraustochytrium, Ulkenia, Diplophryids, Diplophrys
Slime nets which are marine and form labyrinthine networks of tubes in which amoeba without pseudopods can travel.
Fonticulida Fonticula
Fonticula
Fonticula is a cellular slime mold which forms a fruiting body in a volcano shape. As long ago as 1979 it has been known to not have a close relationship with either the Dictyosteliida or the Acrasidae, the two well-established groups of cellular slime molds...

Cellular slime mold which forms a fruiting body in a volcano shape.

Life cycle



Slime molds begin life as amoeba
Amoeba
Amoeba is a genus of Protozoa.History=The amoeba was first discovered by August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof in 1757. Early naturalists referred to Amoeba as the Proteus animalcule after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape...

-like cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

. These unicellular amoebae are commonly haploid and multiply if they encounter their favorite food, bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

. These amoebae can mate if they encounter the correct mating type and form zygote
Zygote
A zygote , or zygocyte, is the initial cell formed when two gamete cells are joined by means of sexual reproduction. In multicellular organisms, it is the earliest developmental stage of the embryo...

s which then grow into plasmodia. These contain many nuclei
Cell nucleus
In cell biology, the nucleus is a membrane-enclosed organelle found in eukaryotic cells. It contains most of the cell's genetic material, organized as multiple long linear DNA molecules in complex with a large variety of proteins, such as histones, to form chromosomes. The genes within these...

 without cell membranes between them, which can grow to be meters in size. One variety is often seen as a slimy yellow network in and on rotting logs. The amoebae and the plasmodia engulf microorganisms. The plasmodium grows into an interconnected network of protoplasmic strands.

Within each protoplasmic strand the cytoplasmic contents rapidly stream. If one strand is carefully watched for about 50 seconds the cytoplasm can be seen to slow, stop, and then reverse direction. The streaming protoplasm within a plasmodial strand can reach speeds of up to 1.35 mm per second which is the fastest rate recorded for any micro-organism. Migration of the plasmodium is accomplished when more protoplasm streams to advancing areas and protoplasm is withdrawn from rear areas. When the food supply wanes, the plasmodium will migrate to the surface of its substrate and transform into rigid fruiting bodies. The fruiting bodies or sporangia are what we commonly see; they superficially look like fungi or molds but are not related to the true fungi. These sporangia will then release spores which hatch into amoebae to begin the life cycle again.

Plasmodia



In Myxomycetes, the plasmoidal portion of the life cycle only occurs after syngamy, which is the fusion of cytoplasm and nuclei
Cell nucleus
In cell biology, the nucleus is a membrane-enclosed organelle found in eukaryotic cells. It contains most of the cell's genetic material, organized as multiple long linear DNA molecules in complex with a large variety of proteins, such as histones, to form chromosomes. The genes within these...

 of myxoamoebae or swarm cells. Therefore, all of the nuclei are diploid at this stage and mitosis occurs simultaneously throughout the organism. Myxomycete plasmodia are multinucleate masses of protoplasm
Protoplasm
Protoplasm is the living contents of a cell that is surrounded by a plasma membrane. It is a general term of the Cytoplasm . Protoplasm is composed of a mixture of small molecules such as ions, amino acids, monosaccharides and water, and macromolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and...

 that move by cytoplasmic streaming. In order for the plasmodium to move, cytoplasm must be diverted towards the leading edge from the lagging end. This process results in the plasmodium advancing in fan-like fronts. As it moves, plasmodium also gains nutrients through the phagocytosis of bacteria and small pieces of organic matter.

The Myxomycete plasmodium also has the ability to subdivide and establish separate plasmodia. Conversely, separate plasmodia that are genetically similar and compatible can fuse together to create a larger plasmodium. In the event that conditions become dry, the plasmodium will form a sclerotium, essentially a dry and dormant state. In the event that conditions become moist again the sclerotium absorbs water and an active plasmodium is restored. When the food supply wanes, the Myxomycete plasmodium will enter the next stage of its life cycle forming haploid spores, often in a well-defined sporangium
Sporangium
A sporangium is an enclosure in which spores are formed. It can be composed of a single cell or can be multicellular. All plants, fungi, and many other lineages form sporangia at some point in their life cycle...

 or other spore-bearing structure.

Behavior


Slime molds show interesting behavior. When a slime mold mass or mound is physically separated, the cells find their way back to re-unite. Studies on Physarum have even shown an ability to learn and predict periodic unfavorable conditions in laboratory experiments (Saigusa et al 2008) Professor John Tyler Bonner
John Tyler Bonner
John Tyler Bonner is an emeritus professor, now lecturer with the rank of professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He is a pioneer in the use of cellular slime molds to understand evolution and development over a career of 40 years and is one of...

, who has spent a lifetime studying slime molds argues that Slime molds are "no more than a bag of amoebae encased in a thin slime sheath, yet they manage to have various behaviors that are equal to those of animals who possess muscles and nerves with ganglia -- that is, simple brains."

In popular culture


  • Traditional Finnish
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

     lore describes how malicious witches used yellow Fuligo (there called "paranvoi," or butter of the familiar
    Familiar spirit
    In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits were supernatural entities believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic...

    ) to spoil milk.
  • Mycologist Tom Volk reports that the plasmodium of Fuligo
    Fuligo
    Fuligo is a genus of plasmodial slime mold. In Finland one unusually prominent species with a bright yellow plasmodium, Fuligo septimia, was believed to be used by witches to spoil their neighbor's milk. This gives it the name paranvoi, meaning butter of the familiar spirit....

    is eaten in Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

    .
  • The webcomic
    Webcomic
    Webcomics, online comics, or Internet comics are comics published on a website. While many are published exclusively on the web, others are also published in magazines, newspapers or often in self-published books....

     GPF has as main characters two sentient
    Sentience
    Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive or be conscious, or to have subjective experiences. Eighteenth century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think from the ability to feel . In modern western philosophy, sentience is the ability to have sensations or experiences...

    , talking slime molds by the names of Frederick Physarum and Persephone.
  • The computer game NetHack
    NetHack
    NetHack is a single-player roguelike video game originally released in 1987. It is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack , which is a descendant of Rogue...

    has Slime Mold as an edible, re-nameable fruit. This is an homage to the earlier game Rogue
    Rogue (computer game)
    Rogue is a dungeon crawling video game first developed by Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman around 1980. It was a favorite on college Unix systems in the early to mid-1980s, in part due to the procedural generation of game content. Rogue popularized dungeon crawling as a video game trope, leading...

    , which featured Slime Molds the adventurer could find and add to inventory/eat. When a slime mold was eaten, the message displayed was "My, that was a yummy Slime Mold!"
  • The giant amoeba
    Amoeba
    Amoeba is a genus of Protozoa.History=The amoeba was first discovered by August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof in 1757. Early naturalists referred to Amoeba as the Proteus animalcule after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape...

    -like alien that terrorizes the small community of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, in the 1958 American horror/science-fiction film The Blob
    The Blob
    The Blob is an independently made 1958 American horror/science-fiction film that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that terrorizes the small community of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania...

    might be based on slime molds.
  • The lead character in AMC's series Rubicon
    Rubicon (tv series)
    Rubicon is an American television series created by Jason Horwitch and produced by Henry Bromell that was broadcast on the AMC television network...

    ," Will Travers, gives a quick description of slime mold behavior as a dinner topic at his boss' house in Episode 6.
  • In the TV special The Future Is Wild
    The Future is Wild
    The Future Is Wild was a 2002 seven-part documentary television miniseries. Based on research and interviews with several scientists, the miniseries shows how life could evolve in the future if Homo sapiens became extinct; the Discovery Channel broadcast changed this outlook by stating the human...

    , the Slither Sucker is based on slime molds.

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