How Does Slime Mold Move?

Deep in the darkness it grows, feeding itself by sucking on the damp, rotting world around it.

Then, at a signal from some mysterious clock, the blob creeps upward, finally emerging into the world of daylight. Again the mysterious clock signals, and the oozing mass pauses and changes itself into bunches of cotton candy, each on its own stick. Is this a horror film?

No, this is the real world of slime mold. Slime mold lives wherever it can find the darkness, moisture, and plant life it needs to grow.

Like a mushroom, it is a fungus and must feed on food other plants have manufactured and stored away. At one point in its life, it acts so much like an animal that some scientists call it the “mushroom animal!”

The cotton candy cones are the plant’s “flowers,” and they contain the cells that let the plant reproduce. In that way, they are similar to seeds, but the tiny cells are not like the seeds of plants.

They are more like tiny animals. Each has a tail with which it pushes itself around in search of food.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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