116 thoughts on “Slime Molds”

  1. Awesome pics!

    But then, I have come to expect nothing less from your site.

    Thank you for providing those of us who have not had the pleasure of living in (or visiting) your country the opportunity to view its treasures in a manner that is far superior to any newspaper article, television show or tourist guidebook.

  2. Molds can be correct if there are different types of mold…

    That being said, some of those molds were interesting, and other were kind of creepy… But it was very cool.

  3. Slime moulds are fascinating; they live at the border between unicellular and multicellular.

    For most of their life, they live the life of a amoeboid single-cell. Then one of them decides it’s time to reproduce and sends out a signal (cyclic AMP) to all the others in the area, which flow together into a vast heap. When enough have come together, they turn into a “slug”, which moves in a particular direction rather like the treads on a tank. When the slug has reached a suitable spot, it then differentiates: some of the cells turn into a long stalk which lift the others, which turn into a spore pod, up out of the layer of laminar air near the ground into the turbulent air further up. (This is because spores can travel a long way in turbulent air; in laminar air they’d just drop straight back down to the ground.)

    The fascinating thing is that these cells, which are originally identical and individual organisms, come together and undergo different fates: the ones which form the stalk never reproduce; they sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the ones which form the spore pod.

    The one most studied by scientists revels in the name of Dictyostelium discoides.

    • Possibly interesting- when I was researching the molecular mechanism of memory in hippocampal neurons, a DB search for the molecules I was looking into kept turning up papers on D. discoidium. 4 months and 700+ principal research papers later, i had found the organism to have all the principal molecular players of the presynaptic space of the pyramidal cells responsible for long term potentiation (believed to be the principal mechanism for memory formation). Whats more, most of the molecular pathways were conserved and several of the pathways known for years in ‘Dicty’ have recently been confirmed to be present and necessary in mouse hippocampal neurons.
      I.e. these little guys, because of their genetics and ease of observation, may end up providing a lot of information on how humans are able to think!

    • The high school teacher I had for Biology 101 way back in 1979 described Slim Molds as not being part of the Animal kingdom or Plant kingdom but part of another… I don’t remember which but there were two mentioned “Monera” and “Protista” (not sure of spelling). I remember seeing a really cool time lapse film of slime mold in that class. It was very interesting how it progressed through it’s different life cycles. Slime mold is a very very interesting life form. By the way where can you get some slime mold to study and can you keep it in something like a terrarium or a empty fish tank? I assume all slime mold needs for food is the proper vegetation and dead wood? I’d love to get into photographing them myself!

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  5. Some of it looked like frosting and others looked like blackberries. Some looked like little oranges. AND ALL OF IT MAKES ME FEEL NAUSEOUS.

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  7. @TheSaint: I’m not the photographer, but even I can see that it’s not photoshopped, it’s just two photos taken at different times. You can see that the yellow one has aged, there are more cracks/folds in the surface. I guess that mold turns yellow as it ages, too.

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  12. I’ve always believed that calling these things “slime molds” was very unfortunate. They are truly beautiful living things. Some of them also exhibit very complex behavior in intra-cellular communication:


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  14. Pingback: Slime Molds - Animals or Plants?! - Nature’s disgusting darlings
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  16. Dear Artists and Scientists:
    You have added more beauty to the beautifull nature. God will thanks you for your effort to obtain the spirit He put in his work!. These incredible photos help science to be capture and understood for all us all. Congratulations!!!

  17. Neither animal or plant. Green plants are descended from green algae. Fungi and animals are descended from different slime mold kingdoms. That’s right, slime molds come in at least four kingdoms, and one is a bacterial kingdom. To learn more about slime molds search for the key words “slime” and “mold”. Wikipedia is a good place to start, but be sure to check out other sources.

    Those little buds? Fruiting bodies. Each contains spores created by some of the ameoboids that make up the slime mold slug. The slug itself is hidden under the leaf litter and other debris. So in that sense a slime mold is sort of like a fungus.

    The life cycle of slime mold is grossly fascinating, and fascinatingly gross. Read up on it and remember that some of these guys is descended from one of our ancestors.

  18. Never seen mold like these.
    They do look slimy.
    Nice job taking the pictures.
    Very unusual shapes and colors.

    thanks from
    tony 🙂

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  22. Almost surreal, some of the shots do look like alien landscapes. Interesting subjects. Nice job!
    Would love to take a walk with the photographer and see with his vision.

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  24. Me gustaron mucho las fotos, son preciosas, llenas de color y formas mágicas… que bueno que capten fotos tan especiales

    Saludos desde México

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  33. these pictures aregorgeous. I picturesd them as little organic soft sculptures in an art gallery. Very inspiring if you think along those lines.

  34. I featured some of these in a film, ‘The Rotten World About Us’, BBC2 1979, and we were intrigued by the pulsations observed in these organisms when photographed in time-lapse by OSF,UK,Ltd. These are stunning stills. I bet Taylor Lockwood has something comparable in his picture library in the US. Well done EnglishRussia! These are stunning.

  35. You are a Master of Slime Mold photography. Thanks to your dedication and knowledge, I have had a wondrous experience this day. And, thanks also to some of the comments I have also received an introductory overview into a segment of Biology.

  36. I’d love to know the timescale of the last photo (the animated gif). I figure it’s 5 days or so, but that’s just a SWAG.

  37. I studied botany when I was in high school in Michigan.
    I ran across slime molds in the books.
    They are not easy to spot, and they only live in very damp places.
    I found one once, in its gelatinous stage. A very interesting sight!
    They are definitely one of the more wondrous life forms.

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  49. I’ve heard it said that slime mold is kind of a “missing link” in evolution in that it exhibits some characteristics of the animal kingdom, specifically differentiation in morphology as well tasks in order to make the organism function the way that it does. We may owe quite a bit to the lowly slime mold!

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