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Mature, olive-brown aethalia with a powdery mass of lavender spores that had burst out.
Growing on rotting, decorticated wood in a mixed forest.
The life cycle of slime molds is very interesting and complex. Here is a simplified description of what goes on...Slime molds form structures called plasmodia, which actually lack cell walls. Plasmodia are able to move up to an inch an hour - their motion being the result of protoplasm that flows through the organism in a rhythmic motion. The masses of protoplasm move around and engulf particles of food in an amoeboid manner. Eventually, when the plasmodia runs out of food, it transforms into sporangia, which (simplistically) are balls of spores. These "sporangia spore balls" are called the aethalia, which are the fruiting bodies of the slime mold.