Identification: Slime Mold? YUCK

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by mtnic, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    This "blob" is living in my rock garden. For some time, I thought it was left over cement someone had poured in my rocks. I recently removed a large tree from the area so the area is now part to full sun instead of dappled to full shade. While removing the tree, I realized the mass looked alive somehow. I tried to ID it, but was unable to even describe what it was. Everything I found suggested it was a Fuligo septica (dog vomit slime mold). I was under the impression that slime molds don't actually live very long in one place. It has definitely grown, but I don't think it has moved.

    It appears it isn't a fan of the new climate I provided it by removing the tree and re-directing the sprinkler away from it. It looks quite a lot different today. There is no mulch in the garden, but I suppose under the mass there are plenty of leaves and lawn debris- I haven't been able to clean that area of the bed as it freaks me out.

    Any help anyone could provide would be much appreciated.
     

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  2. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    That's a slime mold. Probably Fulgio septica, the dog vomit slime mold, or similar.
     
  3. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Can they remain in the same exact spot without moving for long periods of time? This slime mold has been there at least a year, but I think it could be three years. Is it just now transforming because the conditions changed due to the removal of the tree? It is really gross today.
     
  4. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    Slime moulds are still so little known, understood. Very few studies have really been done with them except with the more 'commonly' known ones like the Many-headed slime mould (which crawls to find food). They only just recently got classed into it's own family as over the last 100+ years people have been trying to make it an animal, fungi or plant. With knew learned knowledge it's finally been put into it's own home.
    This doesnt' resemble the septica species to me at all? And you said it's growing in ROCKS? Now...questions........lol
    Is it wet?
    Has it grown?
    Does it smell?
    Is you're area of MT moist?
    Many slime moulds will live as long as it still has a host...wood/compost/leaves/trash/grass.......
    To know this guy has been there over a year sounds MORE like a fungus of some sort (like a white jelly)? Or even an odd type of lichen. Can you see if it has any sort of texture to it's surface? My computer only allows me to open these photo windows in a 2x3 inch space so I'm unable to view details here.
    If you'd like to send me these images? (under 3mp please) I'd love to see better and maybe help more.
    One thing that may not sound fun...but IS do-able? If it IS a slime mould....u can actually just mix it into mulch...it's not really doing harm to you're area and is great for composting! :o)
    Let us know if it's darkening/shrinking/drying up or turning powdery please please please!
     
  5. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    C.Wick - try holding down your Ctrl button when you click on the thumbnails to open them in full size in a different screen. Unless you have a Mac.
     
  6. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Ok, I will try to answer your questions, the ones I'm able anyway. It looks much different today, I don't think it likes the light and the fact that I'm not allowing it water. It appears to be crusting? now. It is darker and not as wet. My area of MT is not at all wet, but we did have a wet winter and the last couple weeks have been rainy. I've found tons of strange things growing this week- things I've NEVER had in my yard. I don't think I have ever even seen a mushroom since I bought this house- seven years ago. I didn't do much yard work the first five years though, so I can't be sure. I'm very active in the garden now though, I notice everything. I've ignored that area for a long time because it was obscured by an ugly tree I hated. I finally got rid of the tree and some nightshade vines covering the rocks, so the slime mold went from shade to full sun in the span of a day. It isn't happy apparently. Yes, it is growing on rocks- there is no wood mulch in the rock bed although there are some leaves near those rocks- the remainder of the rock beds have been cleaned out, but this blob is gross and I can't bring myself to go very close to it. Yes, it has definitely grown.

    It was very wet and sticky but today it is crusting, like I mentioned before. I'm not sure if it smells, I am too disgusted to inspect that closely. I will go out right now to take a few new photos. I'd love your help in identifying them, but how do I send them to you so you can open them larger? I'm new to this forum (last night!). Thanks! I have lots of pics of it before it had sun too- some very close.
     
  7. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    YIKES! It got rained on last night and is back! It appeared to be dying yesterday, but is looking nearly as good as new now. It is obviously very wet and chunky- it looks a bit brain-like now. I don't think it smells very good, I can't tell for certain, but I get a bad feeling. I will now post some new pics- I do have pics from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The first photo is from today and the other is from yesterday.
     

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  8. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    THANX MycoRob! Now that I can see it clearer it's giving me more ideas to look at.

    Fasinating that it's been there for so long...many of the jelly fungi can dry, be rehydrated, dry, rehydrate, dry....over a long period of time.

    This doesnt' look like it's trying to 'spore', whatever it is, yet? So don't panic. I have to agree with you it's NOT the most attractive thing I've seen to date. :o)
    Was the Nightshade growing over it/covering it originally? And do you know what kind of tree it was that was near-by?

    I'm wondering if this was growing en-tandem with the nightshade or maybe tree roots.....mycelum of fungi can go down VERY deep into the ground/host tree sometimes....
     
  9. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    They were not growing together. The tree I removed was a Juniper and the nightshade was Bittersweet Solanum dulcamara- the tree obscured my view or I wouldn't have allowed that weed to live there. Neither of them were even touching the blob. I'd say they were between two and three feet away from it. The tree and the vines did provide it nearly continual full shade though. The sun is beating on it now and it is beginning to look like it is drying up again. It is SOOOOOOOOOO unattractive. It makes me want to puke! There are a couple lilacs nearby the blob. I can't say for sure how long this has been there, but last summer I noticed it as well. It wasn't nearly as large. We had snow much of the winter covering it, so I don't know if it has been there the entire time or if it has left and come back again. Thanks for your wisdom! Very appreciated.
     
  10. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm not convinced this is a slime mold, but I don't yet have an alternate idea to offer.
    I'm going to msg Stilbella for expertise on this.
    cheers,
    frog
     
  11. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Thank you, I'm not convinced either or I would have just accepted the diagnosis I was given initially. It is really really disgusting now. I wonder if I could somehow keep water away from it if it would go away for good. I suppose I can remove the rocks if necessary too, just not sure where to go with this. There isn't a steady source of water in that area either, which stumps me further. Thanks to everyone!
     
  12. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    I also should mention that it has brown crust on it now again. I'd say the area it covers is the size of a large pizza. There is now some that has crossed the edging into the lawn. It looks like beef stroganoff that has been left out for a day or so.

    I would really just like to remove it, but I have a strange fungi phobia after a traumatic houseplant incident and I have a fear of my body being systemically infested. I wear a mask when I go near it and hold my breath anyway. I know I sound nuts, but ......

    I also found a bizarre looking wood ear fungus in the shade border not far from the blob. I've found tons of strange mushrooms and things in the last few days, but that wouldn't explain this blob being in the same place for years. It appears it doesn't want to leave. I did pour a whole lot of funguscide on it when I initially realized it was alive. That did nothing as far as I can tell.
     
  13. Stilbella

    Stilbella Active Member

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    I am disinclined to believe that that's a slime mould. The fact that it's been around as long as it has is one reason. Something (lack of food, temperature change, etc.) would have caused it to change by now, if it was going to develop sporangia, and it hasn't become an aethelium, either. The fact that it rehydrated after the rain doesn't indicate slime mould, either.

    It almost seems to behave like a jelly lichen, although I am hardly an expert on the subject. My lichen-loving hubby may be able to get an opinion from some lichenologist friends of ours, but he isn't sure what it is either, except for agreeing that slime mould is an unlikely ID.
     
  14. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Would a jelly lichen respond to having fungicide poured all over it? Whatever my blob is didn't respond in any way to using the entire bottle on it. I'm pretty sure it exists in a constant cycle of drying up and rehydrating although it has never been so large. I always thought lichens were slow-growing, but I don't know anything about them either, so who knows. In the last year, it has increased to at least 5 times the original size. Assuming it IS a lichen, how can I remove it? Why is it there? It is unsightly and frightening.
     
  15. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    You can find lichens growing on sidewalks, rock, wood, METAL, in dry arid places, in water, in damp forests or in the city on well-traveled polluted spots..........each kind has it's favorite locations.
    Fungicide is way over-rated. People who've told me they've used it rarely have results they expect/hope.
    Ok...sorry, can you tell me what kind of rocks this is growing on? I think I may have a 'family' name of the lichen it COULD be...do you know if it's sandstone or limestone or basalt or just smooth river rocks or.....? I know it seems we're asking a lot of info on this but to a lot of us it's a very fascinating 'blob'. I can understand you're aversion to it (I'm the same with spiders). Many kinds of lichens prefer certian types of rock, like ones with silica (quartze, lime, mica).
     
  16. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    I don't mind the questions at all. I'll answer whatever you are wondering, I can't say I'm fascinated but I am concerned about it, especially now that it is clearly visible to the world after the tree was removed. Our soil here is alkaline clay with lots of sandstone, but the rocks it is living on are smooth large river rocks. I have seen a couple sandstone rocks in the beds, but I think I threw them in there after finding them in the soil. I am quite sure this is growing only on the river rocks. Beneath the rocks is black weed stop cloth. It is on the east exposure of my home.
     
  17. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    And I'm sorry...a quick note here? Please don't do anything else to this at the moment if you can help it? From much of the info I'm reading? Jelly lichens are a very vulnerable species...many are threatened or even endangered. If we find that this is the case I'm sure someone locally (or not) can/will come and collect it....or something?
    We're trying to ID as fast as we can, even though it seems to be a long lived fellow blob...wouldn't it be an amazing thing to learn it IS a new species...or something that is incredibly benificial to the world in some way?
    Ok..
    enuf of my bit of preaching here...lol
    Still searching................
    OH! And? USDA has a list of jelly lichens that I'm searching thru right now? And none are listed as 'noxious' or harmful to you're health!
     
  18. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Don't worry, I'm not going to destroy it yet. Although it is DISGUSTING, I'd be afraid it would simply come back anyway. I think I will head outside to check it out- I haven't seen what it is up to today. I will post a photo if there is any major change. Thanks for your help, I appreciate everyone's wisdom!
     
  19. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    It is rehydrated again thanks to our cool wet weather right now. I will attach today's photos, one is in the rocks so you can see the rock type it is growing on and the other is very close. Just let me know if there is any other information I could provide to assist.
     

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  20. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    I think it has moved a bit. It seems to be getting thicker anyway. I really want to kill it.
     
  21. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    lol....does seem a bit un-nerving eh? I'm making a couple phone calls...don't do anything yet! :o)
    I'll send u a note to see if I can get any results ok?
     
  22. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Alright, I'll try to restrain myself from eradicating it until further notice. It looks like it is ready to take over the world after a very wet and freezing cold (almost literally freezing, parts of the state had snow) weekend. It seems to be clumping up- I moved the rock out of the center of the blob, it has now filled in. It is SO disgusting!
     
  23. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    Ok...another question...lol
    Can you get a stick...and kinda 'poke' a bit off? To see if it has any kind of internal texture?
    I contacted MSU today to talk to Dr.Rundquist about this and a suggestion was made that it could possibly be.......INSULATON? or maybe even a paper blob of some sort? This stuff, funny enuf, can dry and rehydrate, shrink and expand too!
     
  24. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Really? That is so weird. There have been no recent renovations or anything, but maybe there was something hiding beneath the nightshade too. I'll go poke it. :)
     
  25. mtnic

    mtnic Member

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    Ha ha. I poked it and the first photo shows what happened. It is very thick and obviously very sticky. I tried to pry just a bit up for a photo and a large chunk ended up stuck to the side of my house. The other two photos are of the inside after a few chunks were displaced. If it is insulation, I haven't the faintest clue how it got there, but I would be somewhat relieved I guess- knowing it wasn't alive anyway. It has moved though, as well as increased in size, so not sure how to explain that- maybe expansion with moisture? I touched it with a glove on and it really feels like wet clay. It doesn't smell very nice and I did see some flies around it today when the sun came out for about a half hour. Let me know if you have other questions! Thanks for your help!
     

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