IN THE conifer plantation at Langsett slime fungus is on the move. About two inches long and as bright as a plastic lemon, it is making its way imperceptably up onto a stone at the edge of the track. They’re normally found amongst decaying plant material, rather the creeping along the footpath beside you.
You can see the trail of slime it has left behind, as it moves along cosuming algae, bacteria and fungi. This free-roaming blob of protoplasm, known as the plasmodium, has multiple nucleuses.
Plant or animal? A bit of both perhaps. The Slime Fungi are grouped in the phylum of Myxomycetes, in the kingdom of Protists, which also includes the algae and protozoa. The Protists are considered to be intermediate between animals and plants but possibly not related to either.
Like a fungus, the plasmodium produces spores.