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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dog's Vomit in the North Campus!

Why would I write about finding dog's vomit in the North Campus? Because it is, contrary to what you might think, an awesome type of fungus, a slime mold!

Slime molds are a type of non-gilled fungi that often appear on mulch. What I find really interesting about them is their unique lifecycle! Most of their lives, slime molds are hidden in rotten logs or buried in leaf litter. However, when it's time to reproduce, they have to move to an appropriate site for spore dispersal. To do this they propel themselves over considerable distances (well considerable for a fungus), up to three feet for Fulgio septica, aka dog's vomit. Unfortunately, this usually happens at night when it is cool and moist, so I've never seen it happen in person. Watch out for a time-lapse video if I can convince Sam Easterson to spend a night in the North Campus.

Here are some images of the different stages of dog's vomit we found in the North Campus.

Relatively fresh slime mold, only just starting to put forth spores

Older slime mold, now you can see the black spores

Slime mold after fruiting

While we were out and about Sam and I found more fungus. Check out these pics of unidentified fungus. Drop me a line if you know what they are! 

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