Dog Vomit Slime Mold
New Zealand Status: Indigenous
Conservation Status: Unknown
Fuligo septica is a species of plasmodial slime mold. Slime molds are made up of a multinucleate mass of protoplasm, with no cell walls, within a cell membrane called a plasmodium. The plasmodium can move like an amoeba during its search for nutrients.
Fuligo septica first appears as a slimy white to bright yellow coloured plasmodium that's typically 25mm to 200mm in diameter and 10mm to 30mm thick. The plasmodium eventually transforms into a sponge-like aethalium, the equivalent of a mushroom's spore-bearing fruiting body, and is the largest aethalium of any slime mold. The aethalium darkens to brownish-grey colours as it matures and releases its dark-colored spores. This transformation can occur very rapidly, sometimes within hours.
Although many people are alarmed or grossed out by it, this slime mold is harmless to plants, pets, and humans.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader