Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stemonitis fusca - joss sticks for forest fairies?



Slime moulds are interesting organisms but you couldn't really describe them as being beautiful (one of the commonest bears the name 'dog's vomit slime mould') - but this one is a little different. When Stemonitis fusca has finished crawling around and feeding in its plasmodial stage it enters its sporing stage and produces these cinnamon coloured structures, about a centimetre high. You can find   a wonderful movie of it on YouTube.


I've found it on a number of occasions on dead wood in forest plantations in Weardale. On the first occasion when I showed them to my kids (many years ago, when they were very young!) they were convinced they were looking at  'sparkler' fireworks for the forest fairies. Once they got to their teenage years they revised their opinion and claimed they were joss sticks for the forest fairies, who had clearly developed become hippies in the intervening years........... 

8 comments:

  1. This is really brilliant stuff. A great video.

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    1. They're amazing organisms aren't they Adrian - have you seen the YouTube video of one finding its way through a maze?

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  2. Fabulous things, I came across similar to these in autumn and had no idea what they were.
    I'll check out the utube video now x

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    1. Hi Clare, they are,aren't they? Could be from another planet...

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  3. Utterly amazing! For someone to have captured it is also amazing. Thank you for that Phil. I like your children's stories about it. I'm going to see if I can find the one in a maze.

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    1. Hi toffeeapple, I find it amazing that all the tiny amoebae come together and then behave in a coordinated way .....

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  4. Great shots and fascinating story as always.

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  5. Thanks Scriptor, I did once germinate some slime mould spores and watch the amoebae crawling arond under the microscope

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