Smile Molds

Topics: Slime mold, Protist, Fungus Pages: 3 (800 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Slime Molds

There are over 500 different types of slime molds, or myxomycetes as the scientific world calls them. Slime molds have been difficult to classify for years do to the fact that they exhibit characteristics of both fungi and animals. In the feeding stage, the slime molds moves about as a mass of protoplasm(the plasmodium)feeding on bacteria, spores, and other organic matter, much like an amoeba does. When conditions become unfavorable , the plasmodium changes, taking on the appearance of a fungus.

There are two major types of slime molds in the Protist Kingdom. The first kind are the Plasmodial slime molds or true slime molds. They are a rather large singled celled mass with thousands and thousands of nuclei called a plasmodium. They form when individual flagellated cells gather together in a bunch and fuse. This results in one large cytoplasm. The second kind of slime mold spends most of its life as single celled organism that lives alone. It is also known in the scientific world as acrasiomycetes. They release of a chemical signal, gather together, and become a mass called a pseudoplasmodia and eventually multicellular slug. They have different reproductive means and are often separated from plasmodial by scientist.

Many kinds of slime molds reproduce by means on spores. The spores drift along in the wind or are carried about by animals and insects much like seeds are. Also, like seeds the spores wait until conditions are favorable before developing. The spore are unable to move on there own. If smile molds reproduced sexually they may be considered to be an Animal instead of an Protist. However, not all slime molds reproduce exactly the same way.

The slime mold has a simple environment. They can be found in cool, damp places were they can easily find food. Most species that feed on decaying organic matter, bacteria, protozoa, and other minute organisms, which they engulfs and digests. They may live on...
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