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Tapioca slime mold

Brefeldia maxima


No longer regarded as a fungus, Brefeldia belongs to the group colloquially known as plasmodial or acellular slime molds, although known within the scientific community as myxomycetes, the term no longer refers to a formal taxonomic group. Brefeldia maxima is one of the largest of the slime molds and its distinctive feature is the presence multicellular vesicles within the capillitium.[11] Joszef Tomasz Rostafinski (1850–1928) first described this species.[12] The plasmodium emerges from soil and leaves as a pure white structure, often very large and exhibiting rhythmic cytoplasmic streaming which helps transport chemicals within the organism. The plasmodium may move some distance before forming the aethalium or sporangial phase,[13] of an equal size, 4–30 cm in its longest dimension, 5–15 mm thick, carried upon a widespread, silvery, shining hypothallus, purplish black. The cortex at first papillate, however this is a fugacious or transitory phase. The capillitium, the network of thread-like filaments in which the spores are embedded within sporangia is abundant, the threads dark, netted, the nodes bearing multicellular vesicles, the whole borne upon, but often breaking away from the flattened and irregular, columellate basal strands. The spore-mass is brownish black or a dusky colour. The spores are yellow-brown, distinctly warted, and 9-12 µm in diameter.[14] Found living on decaying organic material, such as old tree stumps, logs, leaf mould, compost heaps, and other organic debris in fields, woods, and along the roadsides.[15] Essentially the white plasmodial phase is a single cell; one example of Brefeldia maxima in North Wales is recorded to have covered whole tree stumps, was a centimetre thick with a surface area of over a square metre and weighed up to around 20 kg - therefore technically amongst the largest cells known.-Wikipedia


Found on a rotting log in a wetland habitat.

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Spotted by

Federal Way, Washington, USA

Spotted on Apr 20, 2017
Submitted on Apr 22, 2017

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