NS3983 : A slime mould - Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (plasmodium)

taken 11 years ago, near to Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

A slime mould - Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (plasmodium)
A slime mould - Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (plasmodium)
The substance that looks rather like ice in this photo, which was taken on a warm and humid day, is the slime mould Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (var. fruticulosa).

More precisely, this is the plasmodial (feeding) stage, in which the slime mould is in the form of a plasmodium: a mobile mass of protoplasm. It is not "naked protoplasm", though; the protoplasm, though without a cell wall, is contained within a cell membrane.

In some respects the slime mould is like a giant amoeba, and it moves in the same manner, namely, by means of protoplasmic streaming. One important difference (aside from size) is that a plasmodium, unlike an amoeba, contains multiple cell nuclei.

The plasmodium shown here was transparent and gelatinous, but the photo also shows traces of the delicate silvery patterns that were evident within. These perhaps indicate the direction of the streaming flow of the protoplasm; at any rate, they show the places where the spore-bearing structures will soon develop.

Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa has a plasmodium that is more massive than that of most other slime moulds (as an aside: plasmodia of the species Brefeldia maxima can also be very large).

In this case, the species could be identified because an example of the next stage of its development, the spore-bearing stage, occurred immediately next to it. Not far away, on the same day, I encountered a very extensive example of that stage of the life-cycle: NS3984 : A slime mould - Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa.

The spore-producing stage of this species is often encountered, but the plasmodium, when at the immature stage shown in this picture, is not; in fact, the textbook "Introductory Mycology" (2002; Alexopoulos, Mims, and Blackwell) says: "In spite of many persistent attempts, C. fruticulosa has not been grown in laboratory culture through its entire life cycle and plasmodium formation has not been observed. In nature the plasmodium has been observed only as a mature structure just before it is ready to sporulate".
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NS3983, 57 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 15 August, 2008   (more nearby)
Friday, 15 August, 2008
Geographical Context
Woodland, Forest 
Image Buckets ?
Closeup  Life 
22713 (from Tags)
Gal Slime 
Slime mould   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 390 837 [100m precision]
WGS84: 56:1.1469N 4:34.9970W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 390 837
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
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Other Tags
Ceratiomyxales  Ceratiomyxaceae  Plasmodium  Slime Mould  Balloch Castle Country Park 

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