Slime Molds

Slime molds are complex organisms that are often confused as belonging to the fungi kingdom, however they are actually classified as amoebozoa. While they do have a fruiting phase which resembles fungi, they also have mobility, and the ability to slowly 'crawl' around their environment looking for food sources. Some slime molds are enclosed within a single membrane and with no internal cellular walls and act as one very large cell, with thousands of individual nuclei. By contrast, many slime molds spend most of their lives as an individual single-celled organism, but when a chemical signal is secreted, they assemble into a cluster that acts as one organism.

There are very few common uses for slime molds. While are few are edible, none of them are commonly eaten anywhere in the United States. The most common use of slime molds are in scientific study, in which scientists are using them in order to learn about their methods of mobility and chemical signaling. Slime molds can exhibit behaviors that appear intelligent, such as solving mazes; however it is not believed that they possess any intelligent thought, as is found in higher animals.

Connecticut has a number of slime molds that can be found in the wild. Perhaps most common are the yellow many-headed slime molds that can be found on moist piles of wood chips, or the pink and puffy wolf's milk slime mold which can be found on decaying logs.

Browse by Photo