Dog Sick Slime Mould

Yes, I am really writing a blog post about Dog Sick Slime Mould (Mucilago crustacea). Here is some of it:

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There are three patches of it on the shorter grass where the meadows have been cut

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A patch of vibrant white Dog Sick Slime Mould in the grass.

Slime moulds are really odd things. About 500 different species in the world, they used to be classified as fungi but they have now been kicked out of the fungi kingdom and are classified in a kingdom all of their own. For most of the time, slime moulds are tiny single cells and are part of the wide range of organisms that help break down organic matter in the soil. However, when food becomes scarce, often in the Autumn, the cells all combine together to form structures such as this. The membranes between the cells break down and become much larger multi-nucleus ‘plasmodia’ and these plasmodia can move quickly towards food using cytoplasmic streaming. They can also form fruiting arms and release spores.

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Having found these in the meadows yesterday, I have been trying to read up about them but have struggled to take in the information – any description seems to involve lots of biological terms that I have long forgotten the meaning of and needed to look up. But hopefully I have grasped the basics and reported them correctly to you.

Now I have a dog and, although she is rarely sick, when she is it certainly looks nothing like this. All images I can find of this slime mould have it as this crusty white stuff and so I’m afraid that I’m unable to shed any light at all on to how it got this name.

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