Monday, January 31, 2011

Slime Mold and a New Bird

We went for one of our weekend walks yesterday, after the little rainstorm ended.  I always like to go down to the river after a rain, and we were blessed with a sighting of a pair of Northern Pintail ducks.  Our 86th species identified!!  We also saw a pair of Common Mergansers, the usual mallards.  The four-leggeds were represented by those scruffy and destructive hoodlums, the wild pigs, of which we saw two confirmed, but there may well have been more.

Dino pointed out the most interesting article in the January 22, 2011 issue of New Scientist magazine regarding the activities of certain slime molds.  According to the article (link), slime molds deliberately include their preferred strains of bacteria, i.e. their meals, into their spore capsules, which they use to reproduce.  When the slime mold colony move to a new location, the bacteria can then be "seeded" into the new spot, making it easy for the new slime molds to find a ready source of nutrition. 
In the below photograph, taken in the latter half of November 2010, the red bumps on the log are slime mold.

Mushroom and Red Slime Mold / Nov 21, 2010

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