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Today I stumbled across this magnificent find walking back through my local woods (Bourne Valley, Colchester) after the school run. I couldn’t believe how vibrant the colour was, which is why it stood out so much from within a tree stump. It may be mistaken for a fungi, but in fact, this is a species of Plasmodial Slime Mold called Fuligo septica. Slime Molds are peculiar and truly amazing organisms. Watch the videos below to see why. I haven’t seen many Slime Molds in my life, so this was an exciting find.
This species is commonly called the Scrambled Egg Slime; Flowers of Tan; or Dog Vomit Slime Mold (my favourite name). Fuligo septica has been given these common names because of it’s peculiar yellowish, bile-coloured appearance. F. septica can vary greatly in size from a few inches up to two feet across. It is most commonly found within forested areas; on hardwood mulch, leaf litter, rotting logs, and along untreated timber. Dog Vomit Slime Mold has a worldwide distribution and thrives on moisture, therefore it is frequently seen after heavy rainfall.
Slime Molds are classified as Protists, which are Eukaryotic organisms not belonging to the Animal, Plant or Fungus Kingdoms. Slime Molds may not have a brain or nervous system, but various studies have shown them to display intelligent and sophisticated behaviours. Physarum polycephalum in particular, can mimic the layout of man-made transportation networks, solve mazes and choose the healthiest food from a diverse menu.
Learn more about Slime Molds: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brainless-slime-molds/
You may also be interested in the Myxomycetes: Handbook of Slime Molds book from Amazon.