Stemonitis Fusca- a weird but amazing species of slime mold

Stemonitis Fusca

Stemonitis Fusca

Now, typically this isn’t the kind of mold you would be calling for mold removal on…unless we were doing mold removal in your forest or possibly tree house.  It fruits in clusters on dead wood, and has distinctive tall brown sporangia, supported on slender stalks with a total height of approximately 6–20 mm tall.

Interestingly enough slime molds have a pretty fascinating life cycle:

Slime molds begin life as amoeba-like cells. These unicellular amoebae are commonly haploid and multiply if they encounter their favorite food, bacteria. These amoebae can mate if they encounter the correct mating type and form zygotes that then grow into plasmodia. These contain many nuclei without cell membranes between them, which can grow to be meters in size. The species Fuligo septica is often seen as a slimy yellow network in and on rotting logs. The amoebae and the plasmodia engulf microorganisms.[7] The plasmodium grows into an interconnected network of protoplasmic strands.

Within each protoplasmic strand the cytoplasmic contents rapidly stream. If one strand is carefully watched for about 50 seconds, the cytoplasm can be seen to slow, stop, and then reverse direction. The streaming protoplasm within a plasmodial strand can reach speeds of up to 1.35 mm per second which is the fastest rate recorded for any micro-organism.[8] Migration of the plasmodium is accomplished when more protoplasm streams to advancing areas and protoplasm is withdrawn from rear areas. When the food supply wanes, the plasmodium will migrate to the surface of its substrate and transform into rigid fruiting bodies. The fruiting bodies or sporangia are what we commonly see; they superficially look like fungi or molds but are not related to the true fungi. These sporangia will then release spores which hatch into amoebae to begin the life cycle again.

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