My lease says, “No Pets!” So it probably goes without saying that my pets can’t have pets either. Try telling a Yellow Brain Fungus that 🙂
It is raining today. Fizz and I have been out for hours but taking photographs was difficult so today I am not going to write “The Hunt For Red November,” which is what our walk turned into, I am going to tell you a different story.
Cast your mind back to March. Fizz and I were just little puppies then with all of the Spring and Summer to look forward to. We were exploring the sheep pasture when we found some interesting sticks under an old Oak tree.
I brought my sticks home to live with me for future observation and also because I sometimes get lonely and I thought that it would be nice to have a pet of my own.
Just as with any new pet I taught it basic obedience. I taught it to “Stay.” That was the only thing that it really picked up.
Then at the beginning of March I put it on a shed roof just outside of my front door and told it to stay. A grape vine grew over it and I forgot about it until yesterday. Eight months later my obedient stick was right where I had left it.
It had developed a new fruit body.
This fruit is a very different colour because it is wet. As it dries out the colour gets darker and the one that I found in March was quite dry. I am very happy to see it like this, it has added to my knowledge of Yellow Brain Fungi 🙂
Down at the other end of the stick something else was going on.
It doesn’t look like Yellow Brain Fungus but what are the chances of my stick being owned by two different yellow species?
You do indeed have two different species in your stick Colin. That what you are watching is a slime mould just beginning to form.
My Brain Fungus has a pet of it’s own.
Like Fungi they reproduce through spores and they eat organic matter but unlike fungi they can move.
When food is abundant slime moulds only exist as single cell organisms but when food is in short supply they can send out a signal to all the other little slime moulds that calls them all together. They congregate into a bigger organism that can detect new food supplies.
That is what we are watching. The Slime Moulds are having a party 🙂
Hang on Timmy! Help is on the way. (Hmm… Slime Moulds move quite slowly, I am afraid Little Timmy is out of luck)
Nevertheless we shall follow it.
So that has been one of the highlights of my day. I am hoping for better weather tomorrow. Until then….