NS4175 : A slime mould - Craterium minutum

taken 10 months ago, near to Bellsmyre, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

A slime mould - Craterium minutum
A slime mould - Craterium minutum
The setting is the area shown on the left in NS4175 : The edge of High Mains Quarry; specifically, the picture shows an oak leaf among the leaf litter a few metres away from the lip of the old quarry. Leaf litter is an important habitat for slime moulds.

This is not a microphotography site, and the picture shows only the kind of details that might be discerned by someone with keen eyesight; a web search for the species name will find many much closer views.

The individual sporangia (spore-producing structures) resemble tiny goblets, each about a millimetre high, with a white lid; when this lid is gone, a fine network called the capillitium is exposed to view; the spores are borne on that structure.

As a rule, a microscopic examination is needed in order to identify slime moulds to species. However, as Bruce Ing's identification handbook mentions in connection with Craterium minutum, "the neat orange-brown goblets with a white lid are easily separated from all other species".

The species is described as common, although this does not necessarily equate to being easy to find; slime moulds on wood are often more visible, but this species is associated instead with leaf litter (or plant stems), and is not so readily apparent.

A few days earlier, I had noticed a different species in the same area (it was superficially similar to NS3977 : A slime mould - Physarum leucophaeum); on that occasion, I had spotted a single example of Craterium minutum from a few feet away, but did not photograph it. On a subsequent visit, some time searching among the oak leaf litter eventually turned up the (slightly better) example shown here.

[On the scientific name: "minutum" means just what it seems to, while the genus name "Craterium" alludes to the form; the Greek κρατήριον is a diminutive form of κρατήρ (cratēr, "mixing vessel").]
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NS4175, 111 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Thursday, 17 January, 2019   (more nearby)
Monday, 11 February, 2019
Geographical Context
Woodland, Forest 
Image Buckets ?
Closeup  Life 
22713 (from Tags)
Gal Slime 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4173 7532 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.6868N 4:32.1531W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4173 7532
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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Other Tags
Slime Mould  Stalked Sporangia  Physarales  Physaraceae 

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Image Type (about): close look 
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