12.23.2014 Slime mold

Several years ago (well, actually many) I won a photography contest and one of the judges congratulated me on my appreciation of things slimy. I think the image was of a frog and  well…they aren’t slimy but I wasn’t going to argue the point.

Slime molds (Myxomycota) are plasmodial bodies of single cells all acting as one organism….kind of an altruistic team.  I like them and, although I’ve only found a few so far, I enjoy their interesting biology and many different forms.  They are not fungi but often can be found in a mushroom field guide.

Coral Slime (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa)

Coral-Slime-800FB - CopyKind of pretty for slime, eh?  I had no idea what they were when I found them on a rotting log in Wendell State Forest while toddling along with a couple of entomologists looking for bugs to photograph.

Growing on the same log was Stemonitis axifera (no common name that I can find) and  another cool looking slime mold.

Stemonitis-axifera-700WebNot too slimy, huh?

And probably the one that most folks have seen is the Dog Vomit slime (Fuligo septica).

Dog-vomit-NSNI find these most often.  Sometimes even on our wood chip mulch pile by the garden.

What I found most interesting, up until now, was the idea that slime molds can actually move from one location to another seeking out food.  Not by sending spores through the air (although they do) but by actually moving along the soil.  The reason I said “up until now” is described in the following Ted talk as an actual semblance of intelligence exhibited by slimes.  I don’t expect to hold a conversation with one anytime soon…those funny mushrooms are way way in my past…but apparently they are able to make decisions and find their way to food sources in very indirect paths when facing obstacles.  If you have a spare 12 minutes or so, this is fascinating….to me and I hope to at least some of you too.,

In finishing up, I hope this topic was not too gross for anyone.  If it was and you just fast forwarded to this last paragraph, I understand.  :mrgreen:

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Closeup Photography, macro photography, Nature Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to 12.23.2014 Slime mold

  1. Andrew says:

    I never knew they were so smart. If they can replicate the Tokyo transport network could they I wonder solve Sai Kung’s.


  2. Your photos are so very special as they have been all year…Have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


  3. Incredible photos and I have learned something new today.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a great visual celebration of diversity. These slimy entities would have no trouble getting into an Ivy League school, though I’m not sure they’d grow on the ivy itself.


  5. Just Rod says:

    Very educational Steve. And super photos as usual. I’ll try to find 12 minutes later to see how much more intelligent the slime guys are than I.


  6. shoreacres says:

    I was so tickled when I saw these last night. It took about ten seconds for me to get from your slime to ZZ Top. How? you might ask. Well, let me tell you.

    There was a memorable investigative reporter on Houston television back in the day whose reports on local restaurants always started with the tag line, “SLIME IN THE ICE MACHINE!!!” Yes, of course it’s on YouTube. Marvin didn’t limit himself to restaurants, of course. He was the dude whose reporting helped to close down Texas’s famous Chicken Ranch, the cute little brothel outside LaGrange whose story was immortalized in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” And that brings us to ZZ Top, whose song, “La Grange,” tells the story.

    Apart from all that, the slimes are beautiful — well, at least the white and red. The yellow could profit by having a different name, I think. I tried naming it “Lemon Chiffon Pie” and it looked a little better to me. Now, I’m going to have another cup of coffee and watch the video.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I will try to spread your alternate slime moniker around, Linda. I like it much better too.

      And shame on Marvin, putting that fine establishment full of hard working Americans out of business. I sure do hope that they all found suitable employment elsewhere. Must have made for interesting entries on the unemployment application for type of employment sought.

      Isn’t the world just filled with wonder as we discover more about it. Shame that so many folks find “Survivor” or the like more worth their time.


  7. You’ve done a really wonderful job at making these intriguing organisms look pretty … and I know that can be a tough thing to do. Many slime molds don’t have much color and, therefore, ‘posing’ them in just the right way, to show them off to their best advantage, takes lots of skill and experience. It’s also critical to get-right-down-there at their level … kind of an ant’s-eye-view … to afford your observer the right vantage … and, again, you’ve done really well. All-in-all … a very thoughtful (in the literal sense) series of images. D PS: I have not viewed the video … perhaps this evening.


    • Getting dowm and dirty is one of my strongest character traits I am afraid, David. More than a few folks have encountered a crazy photographer lying along the side of a path in the woods or the rail trail focused on who knows what little subjects. Afterwards they are more often than not treated to the groans of said crazy person trying to rise from the ground with some semblance of dignity. 🙂


  8. Jim in IA says:

    Very interesting. I’ve encountered a large mass of tan colored slime a long time ago. I had no idea what it was. Now I am pretty certain.

    Have a Merry Christmas.


  9. Alison says:

    Wow, those slime molds are Beautiful! Great photographs. I live in Northern California where we get fungi for only a few months each year, IF we get enough rain. Thankfully, we have had a lof of rain so it is a great time to go out and phitography mushrooms and molds. I have been following yoir blog for about a year and am always inspired by your photography. Thank you for helping me to be a better photographer, and Merry Christmas.


  10. Loved this post, Steve. I haven’t seem the top two kinds, but I have seen a bright orange one boogying down the length of a downed Birch in the middle of a warm December. That was SO COOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing the link and for posting these amazing images! The forms they take on … for slime … are beautiful (I would never have thought of calling ‘slime’ beautiful before now) and fascinating. I will dig into learning more about slime.

    Liked by 1 person

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