Some days ago I attended a very interesting conference by Mrs Anne-Marie Rantet-Poux in the framework of the 2017 ASNAT programme. She explained us the life of an amazing organism: the myxomycete or slime mold.
Their common name refers to part of some of these organisms' life cycles where they can appear as gelatinous "slime", the plasmodium. Many slime molds do not spend most of their time in this state. As long as food is abundant, these slime molds exist as single-celled organisms. When food is in short supply, many of these single-celled organisms will congregate and start moving as a single body. In this state they are sensitive to airborne chemicals and can detect food sources.
In case of extreme weather conditions they can survive a very long period moving into the sclerotium form.
They can readily change the shape and function of parts and may form stalks that produce fruiting bodies, many under the form of colorful balloons, releasing countless spores.
They feed on microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts, and fungi) that live in any type of dead plant material. Hence they contribute to the decomposition of dead vegetation. For this reason, slime molds are usually found in soil, lawns, and on the forest floor, commonly on deciduous logs.
Now just let’s find some when having a walk around!