Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Slime Mould (Reticularia lycoperdon)

Walking through Troserch Woods yesterday I came across this very odd species which looked exactly like the expanding foam used in cavity wall insulation oozing from the bark of a very old and dead tree, alongside the Morlais River.

Thanks to the Fungi section of BirdForum website, I now know that this is Slime Mould Reticularia lycoperdon previously classified as Enteridium lycoperdon. Slime Moulds are a strange class of amoeboid protozoa, previously thought to be fungi but now known to be Myxomycota, which are organisms which prey on microbial food webs. This particular species is a bacterial predator and usually very tiny and unlikely to be seen, but this particular stage of it’s life cycle is a fruiting body known as a sporangium. This is a globular formation which swells up to around 50-80mm (this was near to the top end of that scale), whereupon it hardens and then eventually splits to release brown mass of spores. Trichia, a member of the BirdForum community mentions that it usually likes to exit the wood via insect holes.

I’ll try to return and take a few more pictures as it matures, to see what happens.

6 comments:

  1. All good inormation Colin -- during a Llanelli Naturalists field meeting to Troserch woods a few years back, we saw some on a tree trunk about 6ft off the ground. I had some on a wooden window sill in a previous house ---- you do not get such nice things on plastic sills.

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  2. Saw this on a dead tree in Tregyb Wood, Llandeilo a few years back. About 7 ft off the ground it was.

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  3. Is it dangerous? To pet's, people and organisations children?

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  4. No It wouldn't be dangerous although calling it a slime mould doesn't do its image any good. It's just part of nature's rich tapestry - I wouldn't eat it all the same.

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  5. I found a patch of this in it's silver form already split open in my basement. I can see teh brown spores. Can anyone tell me if I should be concerned about the spores with regard to respiratory problems. I have chronic problems my self and I have a 2yr old. Can i just scrape it off or do I need to contact a specialist? Thanks in advance for your input.
    -ZZ

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