Tuesday, December 21, 2010

many-headed slime ~ 12/21/10 ~ Mt. Madonna

many-headed slime
Physarum polycephalum

I have absolutely no idea what group this would even belong. Fungus? Lichen? The yellow venation pattern is visually reminiscent of fall ginko leaves. Does anyone have any clue as to what this is?

ps 01/05/11 and edited 08/18/11 - I originally had this posted as an unknown. It's a slime mold! Who knew this was in the kingdom of protista? Much of its taxonomy is debated beyond my comprehension, but one thing that most agree is that it is not a fungus. And apparently many slime molds move! Thanks to those who have commented, I believe I have a fairly accurate ID of this slime mold.

pss 01/13/11 - Very cool! I had a student from Liverpool John Moores University contact me to ask for permission to use my slime mold picture in her final year project presentation.

pss 08/18/11 - For other blogs posts of slime molds, check out Martin's Moths, Cabinet of Curiosities, and Curbstone Valley Farm. I'm fascinated those in the UK are just now seeing them in late-July to mid-August.

pss 10/09/11 - For an excellent explanation of slime molds with plenty of good links, check out The Biology Refugia.

pss 01/30/12 - Wow, this picture is popular on the internet. I received another permissions request from Mirian Tsuchiya Jerep, a TA for the Biodiversity course at George Mason University. With her OK, here's her request, "I am writing to know if you would allow me to use your slime mold picture in my class. Your picture is so pretty, and it shows where this type of organism is found on the real world, outside the lab. One of my main goals is to make the students connect what they see in the lab with their lives, and that picture is a great example. Of course, I would reference you and your blog as the source. Generally, I post my slides for the students, but if you prefer, I can remove your picture before doing that." Very cool, times two!

pss 11/22/13 - Apparently, this is a popular internet picture.  I received yet another request, this time from Dr. Peer Seipold from the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, Institute for Transport Planning and Logistics.  He's going to be presenting a talk about biomimicry and logisitcs (huh?  really? how?) at Magdeburg 2013: Green Innovations.  Amazing.

pss 05/10/16 - My photo above continues to be of interest, despite there being a virtual explosion of Physarum polycephalum photos in situ online compared to the paucity available back in 2010.  A couple days ago, I received yet another request for use of this photo from a blogger in France who is reporting on incredible recent research of the many-headed slime.  Please check out PK Read's Fast Learners.


Anonymous said...

No idea but it sure is wonderful.

phyte club katie said...

You're kidding me? And no, I don't ask this because I can correctly ID it (like you, I can't even do it at the level of "kingdom"....), but my god, how freakin' beautiful! Thanks for capturing and sharing this.

Nature-Drunk said...

Oh heavens! This is amazingly, take my breath away beautiful. Wow! Thank you for posting this. It does look like Gingko. Nature rocks! What an amazing photo.

Hugh Griffith said...

Slime mold. Possibly Physarum polycephalum?

Very cool.


John W. Wall said...

Hugh beat me to it. This is one of those cases where you wish it was closer to home. Eventually, I would think, the plasmodium you see here will sporulate, which could be quite a show.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I think I finally have this correctly ID'd. I've added a postscript to this post, in case you're interested and for my own records of this beautiful creature.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Ohhhhh...I love slime molds. Yes, I'm strange. I agree, it looks more organized than the slime mold I found here last year, which was Leocarpus fragilis. I did find (and posted a link to) an awesome time lapse video of slime molds that I found though, that was fun to watch. They are fascinating to see in action, as their life-cycles seem to be so short lived. Very nice find. Were you able to revisit this log after you photographed it? It's intriguing to see how they look even within 24 hours.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks, Clare. It took me a bit to find the post you mentioned - I looked at your Nov-Jan '09-'10 and fungi posts (but must have missed it). Had I known more about this organism, I would have made sure to visit it the next day. Next time!

GretchenJoanna said...

That is amazing indeed...not knowing much about the more exotic families in the plant world, I'd never have imagined something with the name of slime mold being gorgeous like a lace shawl.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thank you, Gretchen. Am curious to read through your blog.