Category Archives: Myxomycetes


An individual of Physarum polycephalum joins Hampshire College as a scholar in residence.

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Nom nom nom

Jawbreaker OTD. Myxomycetophagy: drawing nutrition, as in some beetles, from slime molds, both their spores and plasmodia. In Novozhilov et al., “Ecology and Distribution of Myxomycetes,” in Stephenson and Rojas, Myxomycetes (2017).

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Enroute: 14

new bloomA lovely “bloom” of one of our common yellow myxomycetes in the Ridge Heights meadow.

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Key it out

Something to skim during my long twice-daily train rides: Arthur Lister’s Monograph of the Mycetozoa (2/e, 1911), digitized and available through the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

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Dewy pink

Two exquisite photographs of Stemonitis axifera at Botany POTD. I see that this genus has been featured there before.

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Upcoming: 37

Dictyostelium slime molds from around the world will compete in the first ever Dicty World Race! Watch the time-lapse videos of cells navigating a maze embedded in a microfluidic device (nice Pac-Man obstacle) later this week, on 16 May.

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Wolf’s milk

Hooray! It’s slime mold day at BPOTD!

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Own closest relative

Via Leta, Carl Zimmer reviews a lot of recent research on slime molds (myxomycetes). Eye-popping photographs by Steven L. Stephenson, especially the shiny black knobby bundles of Metatrichia vesparia.

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At the sidewalk edge

at the sidewalk edgeWednesday’s rains brought out this myxomycete (slime mold), spotted on my Thursday morning walk down to the bus stop.

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Beauty (truth, too)

xkcd understands myxomycetes.

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Connecting the dots

The Economist summarizes recent publications by Adamatzky and Jones and Atsushi Tero that use Physarum polycephalum, a species of myxomycetes (a/k/a slime mold, probably my favorite simple organisms), to model the tradeoffs between efficiency and redundancy in designing macro networks, like rail lines or motorways.

Of course, neither Dr Tero nor Dr Adamatzky is suggesting that rail and road networks should be designed by slime moulds. What they are proposing is that good and complex solutions can emerge from simple rules, and that this principle might be applied elsewhere.

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At the Park: 1

We went out for a short morning to work on the nest boxes at the Park. Since we forgot to bring a drill so that we could mount new boxes, all we accomplished was tearing down box 60. This wasn’t too hard to do, even without tools, because 60 was pretty ramshackle.

Paul spotted a couple of tail-bobbing Palm Warblers (Dedroica palmarum) and there were some lingering phoebes and swallows over the wetland. Or should we say, soon-not-to-be-wetland: lots of grassy vegetation and small willows and maples are springing up along the boardwalk.

slime moldI found several silvery masses of a slime mold in a rotting tree down along Barnyard Run. The lowest such mass (in the image) was a few feet over my head, about the size of my fist.

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