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Slime moulds are the most fascinating things! The text for today’s post was written by my Glamorgan Fungi Club friend Graham Watkeys, who has very kindly allowed me to quote his words here.

160419 Metatrichia floriformis Slime mould

Metatrichia floriformis

‘Usually existing as separate single cells, slime moulds congregate at this time of year (nobody knows how they do this) creating a gooey super-predator consuming everything in their path.

‘The slime mould actively travels, hunting for its food of bacteria, fungi and other organic matter (nobody knows how it does this), a mass of single cells without a nervous system or any kind of brain acting like a single entity (nobody knows how it does this).

‘Out of the chaos of the multitude, order is created, simulating purpose and direction where none exists beyond the relentless need for food.

‘When the food runs out, this conglomeration decides it’s time to reproduce (nobody knows how it does this). The millions of identical cells spontaneously reorganise themselves into a wholly new configuration, creating mushroom-like structures, some become stems, some spores (nobody knows how it does this), the simple becoming complex, the uniform becoming specialised.

‘The spores are released into the wind and the slime mould becomes a disparate unicellular organism again. The world has some extraordinary inhabitants.’

160419 Mucilago crustacea plasmodial slime mould

Mucilago crustacea, commonly known as Dog’s vomit

160419 Reticularia lycoperdon

Reticularia lycoperdon (False puffball): new specimen on the left, mature on the right

160419 Lycogala sp. Slime mould

Lycogala sp.