Fuligo septica

Introduction (SAM COOK)

Fuligo septica, commonly known as Dog Vomit Slime Mold or Scrambled-egg slime, is a species of plasmodial slime mold with a bile

Figure 1. Plasmodia are commonly found forming on wood chips Emberger, G. (2008) Fuligo septica, Messiah College, Available at: https://www.messiah.edu/Oakes/fungi_on_wood/crust%20and%20parchment/species%20pages/Fuligo%20septica.htm (Accessed 18 November 2019)

coloured appearance (Emberger, G. 2008). It is found worldwide, often growing on bark mulch after heavy rain (Figure 1). For this reason F.septica thrives during late spring all the way through to autumn (Mahr, S. 2015). Due to this slime mold being a mass of undifferentiated cells, F.septica has the ability to move in an amoeboid-like fashion in order to search for nutrients and can be anywhere between 2.5 to 20cm long and wide, and 1-3cm thick (Emberger, G. 2008). As F.septica moves over the surface it engulfs decaying organic material, consuming bacteria and other microbes (Mahr, S. 2015). In nature, these slime molds play an ecological role by breaking down dead materials and recycling the nutrients.

 

Scientific name:  Fuligo septica (L.) F. H. Wigg.

Synonyms: Mucor septicus L.

Common name(s):  Scrambled-egg slime.

Phylum: Myxomycota

Order: Physarales

Family: Physaraceae

(Emberger, G. 2008)

Interesting Facts (SAM COOK)

  • In Scandinavian folklore, F.septica is identified as the vomit of troll cats (kvideland et al. 1988).
  • The indigenous people of some areas in Mexico have collected the mold and scrambled F.septica and eaten it (Jameson, M. 2018).

Reproduction (SAM COOK)

Plasmodial slime mold’s reproduction occurs though the formation of macroscopic fruiting bodies that disseminate spores (Fiore-Donno, A.M. 2011). During the assimilative phase of the slime molds life it digests bacteria and other food particles. When enough nutrients is gathered F.septica moves into the second phase of its life: the quiescent phase. During this phase, the plasmodium forms a fungus-like sporangia, called an aethalium, in which meiospores are formed (Talbot, P.H.B. 1971). F.septica becomes dry and brittle at this point and breaking open the peridium will expose millions of dusty spores (Figure 2). The aethalium structure produced by F.septica is the largest of any known slime mold (Emberger, G. 2008). The spores, thought to be wind-dispersed, complete the life cycle by germinating, producing uninucleate cells (Stephenson, S. et al 2007). Through binary fission, these cells divide giving rise to a new plasmodium. This process can be apomictic (no need for male fertilization i.e. a maternal clone) or result from gametic fusion (fusion of a female gamete and a male gamete) (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Life cycle of a typical Myxomycota A – Spore B – Germinating spore C – Uninucleate amoeboid stage without flagella (left) and with flagella (right) D – Microcyst E-F – fusion of two compatible amoebae G – Zygote H – Early plasmodium I – Sclerotium J – Mature plasmodium K – Beginning of sporulation L – Mature fruiting body with spores enclosed Stephenson, S. Et al. (2007) Myxomycete diversity and distribution from the fossil record to the present. Biodiversity and Conservation. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225456647_Myxomycete_diversity_and_distribution_from_the_fossil_record_to_the_present (Accessed 22 November 2019)
Figure 2. Dry and brittle aethalium of F.septica, releasing dry dusty spores Emberger, G. (2008) Fuligo septica, Messiah College, Available at: https://www.messiah.edu/Oakes/fungi_on_wood/crust%20and%20parchment/species%20pages/Fuligo%20septica.htm (Accessed 18 November 2019)