BIO 203

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Plasmodial Slime Mold Reproduction:
Under favorable conditions, plasmodial slime molds reproduce by forming a reproductive stalk containing spores. This reproductive stalk looks spherical or even popsicle-like on top. When the time is right, these stalks will release the spores and new slime molds will proliferate. The time is right when there is adequate moisture and comfortable temperatures for the slime mold, this usually occurs in the spring and autumn.

Cellular Slime Mold Reproduction:

Cellular slime molds reproduce in much the same way as plasmodial slime molds. There is one relatively major difference between cellular and plasmodial reproduction, cellular slime molds all remain individual cells with one nucleus; whereas plasmodial slime molds are one huge cell with millions of nuclei. The individual cellular slime molds, also called "slugs," crawl along the substrate at a mind-blowing 1 millimeter per hour (on average) leaving behind a trail of chemicals which draws other slugs toward it. As more and more slugs travel over this trail, the chemical becomes stronger drawing in even more. Eventually all of the slugs aggregate at a point and become a pseudoplasmodium (fake plasmodium). They are a "pseudoplasmodium" because all of the cells remain individuals, they are just clustered together. As the slugs aggregate, about a third of the cells come together to produce a stalk-like fruiting body. Other cells are then transformed into spores, which are inside the fruiting body. When the moisture levels and temperatures are just right, the spores are released and cellular slime molds are "born."

The life cycle of a typical slime mold. Brought to you by: Benjamin Cummings

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