Monday, 16 February 2015

Creature 139: Stemonitis fusca

No this is not an alien
Stemonitis fusca is a slime mold, and if you haven't heard of slime molds you should read my post on the dog vomit slime mold to learn a bit about this bizarre group of organisms. When it enters it's reproductive phase it looks quote bizarre.

Stemonitis fusca lives in rotting wood slowly consuming the decomposing plant matter. When conditions are right the form visible bubble like structures which fuse together. These the grow into elongate tubes. Then thin wiry stalks lift the whole structure up giving it as much height as possible so the slime mold can disperse it's spores. It will change color quote dramatically while reaching ripening. Watch it happen here:

Like most slime molds the individual cells are capable of living apart and then fusing together into a single multinuclear cell which forms the fruiting body.

Stemonitis fusca can be found on rotting wood anywhere in the world.

It may look a bit like a mushroom, but I cannot emphasis enough that these arr not fungi. They were once classified as fungi, but have subsequently moved to the Kingdom Amoebozoa.

Kingdom: Amoebozoa
Phylum: Mycetozoa
Class: Myxogastria
Order: Stemonitida
Family: Stemonitidae
Genus: Stemonitis
Species: Stemonitis fusca

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