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June 13, 2019

This organism is not quite fauna and not quite flora nor fungi. On the side of the driveway I found something on the ground that looked like it had been left by a wallaby after a big night out (see picture left). Appropriately named it is a Dog Vomit Slime Mould (Fuligo sp.). The name is bad enough but not all slime moulds look that revolting (see picture below).



Trichia sp.

Slime moulds do not neatly fit into either the fauna, flora nor fungi categories and they have characteristics of all three. In normal situations slime moulds exist as single-celled organisms that are unable to be seen with the naked eye. They feed on microorganisms in dead plant material and fungi.

In times of stress however, if the food supply is scarce or if the temperature is unsuitable, slime mould organisms cluster together to form a larger, visible ‘blob’. The blob can be metres in size. The mass can move towards light or hunt for food as a single unit. Slime moulds reproduce by producing spores. When mature, the spores are dispersed and new ‘amoebae’ are formed.

During our recent fungi workshop white slime moulds were seen growing from the dead trunks of Tasmanian Blue Gums (pictured right).

I have a great idea to use these to produce a B-grade horror movie. It will obviously have to be done in Technicolor (Yawn.)

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