Thursday, 18 August 2011

Slimes of the times

Spare a thought this morning for all those young people opening their A level results. I can't come up with any original insights on the subject, but I do feel for them and their Mums and Dads. Good luck to them all and perseverance to those who are disappointed. Many great or happy people have overcome such stumbles.

Now to a blog first... Pictures of slime. Actually that's maybe a crude word for fungus, but we initially went 'Yuck' when we saw a splash of yellow gunge while out on a walk the other week with our nice Australian visitors Helen Versey and David Brown. Overcoming this to take a closer look, we all reckoned the stuff was a fungus and David's close-up photo (he's very good at these; veteran readers may remember last year's one he took of a grub in one of our home-grown peas) bears this out. Here it is:

It's lovely in its way. David emails with it: You may recall that we came upon something slimy on Otley Chevin. In the fading light we couldn't tell if it was dropped or propagated. It's now Saturday and after a frantic week at work I have time to go through my photos of the trip. For a while I thought a child had wandered into the forest after a consuming a large quantity of confectionery. However, close observation will reveal that it's a fungus hard at work on a dead tree. You can see the fibres and the floral heads clearly.

Indeed you can.

Meanwhile, on our Harrogate walk at the weekend, Penny and I found something similar. Our photography is nothing like as expert, but here are a couple of pics, above and below. If anyone knows the identity of these strange forms of 'life', I'd be interested to learn more. Meanwhile I will Google away, as ever. I should add that it isn't cauliflower cheese.

And Hooray! Phil Gates comes to the rescue - see Comments, and even more, see his wonderful blog and its post on this very slime. Thanks again Phil.

Update on 19 August: Woo! Even more expertise. See further comment from Katie.


Phil said...

Greetings Martin, I think you have a beautiful example of the peripatetic stage of a slime mould - probably this one
kind regards, Phil

MartinWainwright said...

Ah Phil - thanks SO much! I was devoutly hoping you might drop in, as the only person I know who would know these things.

The entry on your blog is characteristically wonderful. I'm about to post a link...

Warmest wishes


Katie (Nature ID) said...

My guess is that the first picture is a Physarum sp. and the last two could possibly be a Fuligo sp. There are so species of slime molds that it's difficult to know for sure. A good basic slime mold primer is at

We have a lovely Leocarpus fragilis in our area. Google the name to see pics.

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks ever so, Katie. I had no idea there were so many experts on slime. It will be my new interest...

All v best