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[APD] Re: bizarre white "algae"
I've been off the list for a while and just recently
started reading it again.
The first thing I thought when I saw the picture was
that it looked like the slime mold Physarum
polycephalum that we use in the teaching lab. Then
you said it moved. Bingo. Cellular and plasmodial
slime molds do just that. Plasmodial molds are
coenocytic, meaning that they divide their cells don't
completely divide; in fact they just duplicate the
nuclei and organelles, but aren't split into two
cells. They can then move their cytoplasm around
(called cytoplasmic streaming). By doing so they can
actually move about an agar plate. Cellular molds
have separate cells. Technical note, it is not an
algae, NOR a mold or fungus. It is a fungus-like
protist. They usually live in moist environments,
like on logs and leaf litter in forests. I think some
cellular slime molds are aquatic, though. They all
feed on dead organic matter and bacteria. I'm not
_certain_ but I don't think they will hurt your fish
like water molds (another protist) do.
I like this little group of protists. Kind of like
the Blob! If you get it back, take a hand lens and
see if you can see the cytoplasm streaming. It looks
like blood flowing inside the mass!
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