Coral Slime Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa


Coral Slime Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa
Coral Slime Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa
Coral Slime Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa
Coral Slime Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa

This slime mould is from the family Ceratiomyxaceae, and was a lovely discovery as I walked through a local wood. I was suprised how much of the dead tree was covered in the mould and its intricate, almost alien formation.

A slime mould which intially looks like ice crystals or coral. Great numbers can occur on fallen logs which have tiny erect, branching or individual translucent white structures. They can appear fuzzy due to the spores which appear on the outside surface. The fruiting bodies are 0.5-1 mm wide, 1-10 mm high.

While not fungi, but belonging to the kingdom Protozoa (single-celled organisms), slime molds often form spore-bearing structures that resemble those of fungi. Although many slime mold species fruit on wood they do not form a penetrating and absorptive mass of hyphae in the wood substrate, but form structures called plasmodia which are naked (without cell walls) masses of protoplasm which can move and engulf particles of food in an amoeboid manner. Slime mold plasmodia creep about over the surfaces of materials, engulfing bacteria, spores of fungi and plants, protozoa, and particles of nonliving organic matter. At some point, plasmodia convert into spore-bearing structures.

Seen June to November clustered on dead wood, sometimes covering a large surface area. Native to Britain, common and widespread throughout.


All photos © Peter Hillman. Taken November 2020.