A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife
Physarum polycephalum, literally the “many-headed slime”, is a slime mold that inhabits shady, cool, moist areas, such as decaying leaves and logs. Like slime molds in general, it is sensitive to light; in particular, light can repel the slime mold and be a factor in triggering spore growth. P. polycephalum is typically yellow in color, and eats fungal spores, bacteria, and other microbes. P. polycephalum is one of the easiest eukaryotic microbes to grow in culture, and has been used as a model organism for many studies involving amoeboid movement and cell motility.
Shady, cool, moist areas, such as decaying leaves and logs. This one was growing on a decaying log along the Bartram Trail in Columbia County, GA.
The main vegetative phase of P. polycephalum is the plasmodium (the active, streaming form of slime molds). The plasmodium consists of networks of protoplasmic veins, and many nuclei. It is during this stage that the organism searches for food. The plasmodium surrounds its food and secretes enzymes to digest it.