Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Mouldy Lunch

Now here's some mould I WANT to see on my lunch break: Slime mould!

With all this warm, damp weather we're having, I couldn't resist popping over to Hoe Wood at lunchtime for a quick poke around.

First up, a nice lunchtime treat: Dog's Vomit Fuligo septica

Close by, a lone drop of Wolf's Milk Lycogala sp.

This next one's a new one for me: Mustard-yellow sporangia on a darker stalk.

A look down the microscope shows those sporangia are like teeny-tiny afros, held in a conical cup which gradually widens from a dark brown / amber stalk.

After much Googling and perusing of Bruce Ing's Myxomycetes of Britain & Ireland, I think I've got the identification down to one of two species: Hemitrichia clavata or H. calyculata.

From The Myxomycetes of Britain and Ireland, An Identification Handbook, by Bruce Ing

The deepness of the cup is one of the key features that separates these two species. But the cup on the specimen I'm looking at looks like it's somewhere in the middle of the two diagrams.

I tried to get a look at the capillitium (i.e. the threads of that afro) under the microscope, but it's pretty hard when you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE DOING. 

I did manage to observe this branching structure, which Ing's species description suggests might be indicative of H. calyculata. But I can't make out any of the other identification features.

I think that probably leaves the species identification too close to call. But I'll take some comfort from the fact that, according to Bruce Ing's book, these two species were not separated until the work of Martin and Alexopoulos in 1969.

Last up, an easier one (I believe), Coral Slime Mould Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa.

It's a pretty little thing.

For the record
Date: 22/06/2016
Location: Hoe Wood, Small Dole [private site]
Grid reference: TQ2113

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