Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Slime Moulds

What can I tell you about Slime Moulds? Well they are slimy .....and they look mouldy :-) That's close to the sum of my knowledge of the subject although they are indeed fascinating life forms. For a long time they were considered a form of fungi but these days they are placed in the Kingdom Protista or Protozoa.

Apparently the largest slime moulds can cover an area of up to thirty square meters. That's reminiscent of that old Steve McQueen classic, "The Blob". Even scarier is the thought that they can plot a course through a maze in order to get to a food source. (Ref) Don't forget, if you are searching on the Net for further information, that the Americans use the spelling 'mold'.

Here are a couple of Tasmanian Slime Moulds. If and when I identify them I will edit this post to include there names. The first three photos below are of a Slime Mould I found at Romaine Park the other day. It was growing on the sawn end of a large old Eucalytpus log.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

Slime Mould - Romaine Park

Slime Mould - Romaine Park

Slime Mould Detail - Romaine Park

The next photo was taken at Narawntapu National Park. I'm not even sure if this one is actually a slime mould or not. Maybe someone can shed some light. It was growing at the base of a large tree stump.

Slime Mould ? - Narawntapu National Park

.....and just for a bit of fun, here are the lyrics from the opening theme song of "The Blob", and a you tube video so you can sing along:

Beware of the blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of the blob


  1. Interesting stuff Mosura, great pictures.

  2. Can't help with first, but red one is (deep breath)
    Dictydiaethalium plumbeum, intermediate phase plasmodium.

    Have you guessed I've Fuhrer's field guide open?

  3. Thanks Duncan - Yes they are weird and wonderful things are they not.

    Thanks Tony - My copy of Fuhrer is temporarily back at the library. I really must buy one. Thanks for looking that up - I'll check it out later.

  4. Hi Mosura
    Great photos.
    With the top Slime Mould, you have managed to capture it at various stages of its life cycle.
    It ranges from smooth slime (bottom right of top image), to something resembling caviar. It may also have a totally different spore producing stage - I am not sure about that one. I know some do. Come to think about it they all must do. I am just not sure what yours would look like, that's all.
    Good that Tony put a name on the red one.

  5. Thanks Denis - I wonder if I'm too late to go back and see if has changed. I'm a bit crook at the moment so I don't know if I'll get the opportunity.

  6. Hi Mosura, Your top photo looks like Stemonitis axifer on its way to producing sporangia. I've got a photo of the same species at the sporangia phase here.