The Myxomycetes of Clyne Wood, Swansea

 

What Are Myxomycetes

Myxomycetes, also known as slime moulds, are not animals, they are not plants and they are not fungi, but belong to a completely different Kingdom of life, the Protozoa which includes the protozoans and algae among others. They are superficially similar to fungi in that they reproduce by producing spores but differ significantly by having a motive phase to their life cycle - the plasmodium. Myxomycetes spend most of their time as a plasmodium, moving around within their habitat consuming bacteria, algae and other small organisims. Plasmodia can be microscopic in size to over a meter across and are often brightly coloured. A trigger will cause the plasmodium to move to the surface (top of a rotting log for example) and produce one or more sporocarps. The sporocarps contain spores which are dispersed into the environment to eventually become new plasmodia. It is the sporocarps that are used to define the various species (approximately 400 in the UK). More information can be found via. the links and references at the bottom of the page.

Where To Find Myxomycetes

Myxomycetes are most commonly found as sporocarps, though a freshly emerged plasmodium can sometimes be seen. Sprocarps range in size from less than 1mm to over 1m, most are just a few millimeters tall. Fortunately a single plasmodium can produce many hundreds if not thousands of sporocarps which can cover quite a lage area making them a lot easier to find. Most myxomycetes are found on dead wood or on leaf litter but also occur on the bark of living trees, dung, herbaceous litter and even on living plants. Careful examination of peices of dead wood while out on a walk will often result in the discovery of these beautiful and fascinating organisms.

Clyne Wood Myxomycetes

Below is a list of species that have been found in Clyne Wood over the past few years. Click on a species name to view photographs and further information.

List of Species Found in Clyne Wood


Arcyria cinerea

Arcyria denudata

Arcyria incarnata

Arcyria nutans

Arcyria pomiformis

Arcyria stipata

Badhamia utricularis

Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa

Clastoderma debaryanum

Collaria arcyrionema

Comatricha elegens

Comatricha nigra

Cribraria argillacea

Cribraria aurantiaca

Cribraria cancellata

Cribraria violacea

Diachea leucopoda

Diderma deplanatum

Diderma effusum

Diderma globosum

Didymium squamulosum

Echinostellium minutum

Enerthenema papillatum

Fuligo septica

Hemitrichia calyculata

Hemitrichia clavata

Lamproderma arcyrioides

Lamproderma scintillans

Licea parasitica

Licea pedicellata

Lycogala conicum

Lycogala epidendrum

Lycogala exiguum

Lycogala terrestre

Macbrideola cornea

Metatrichia floriformis

Paradiacheopsis solataria

Perichaena chrysosperma

Physarum album

Physarum bivalve

Physarum cinereum

Physarum decipiens

Physarum psittacinum

Reticularia lycoperdon

Stemonitis axifera

Stemonitis flavogenita

Stemonitis fusca

Stemonitis lignicola

Stemonitopsis typhina

Symphytocarpus amaurochaetoides

Trichia affinis

Trichia botrytis

Trichia contorta

Trichia decipiens

Trichia erecta

Trichia munda

Trichia persimilis

Trichia scabra

Trichia varia


 

Introduction to the slime moulds - Site with a brief introduction to Myxomycetes
Wikipedia - The Wikipedia entry for slime moulds with additional links to other sites of interest
The Eumycetozoan Project - Site with descriptions, photographs and taxonomy of Myxomycetes
Nomen.Eumycetozoa.Com - An up to data online nomenclatural information system
Slime Moulds, Gallery of Wonders - Site in polish with some superb photographs
North American Slime Moulds - An e-book of Thomas MacBride's 1922 book on myxomycetes
Picasa Web Album - Beautiful photographs from Juanna Arrabal
Picasa Web Album - Another set of photographs from Dalibor Matysek
Forest Slime Moulds of New Zealand - Introduction, lifecycle, photographs and other information
The Clyne Valley Community Project - All about activities, history, wildlife etc in Clyne Valley

 

Ing, B. 1999, The Myxomycetes of Britain and Ireland. - The definitive guide to British myxomycetes. Now out of print and hard to find.
Poulain M., Meyer M. & Bozonnet J. 2011, Les Myxomycetes. - Two volumes with one volume devoted to coulour photographs and a second with keys in both French and English.
Stephenson S.L. & Stempen H. 1994, Myxomycetes A Handbook of Slime Moulds. - Very good introduction to the ecology and life cycle of myxomycetes and identification guides to some of the more common species.

 

Glossary

Capillitium - Sterile structures within the sporocarp that aid the release of the spores.
Hypothallus - The remains of the plasmodium that often lies underneath the sporocarps.
Moist Chamber Culture - A technique for growing myxomycetes on samples collected in the field.
Plasmodiocarp - A sessile sporocarp that retains at least part of the shape of the plasmodium.
Plasmodium - One of the mobile phases in the life cycle of a Myxomycete. The plasmodium is in effect a giant single cell.
Sporocarp - The 'fruit body' of a Myxomycete that produces the spores.
Sporotheca - The part of the sporocarp that encases the spore mass.

For further information, help with identification or comment please feel free to contact me via the email link below
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Last Updated July 2017