Thank you to C. Wick of Atchison, Kansas for sharing today’s photograph. It was originally posted to the garden’s fungus and lichen identification forum.
This is the third slime mold to be featured on BPotD (previous entries: Fuligo septica | Physarum cinereum). Personally, I have a soft spot for them; what’s not to like about organisms infrequently encountered with unusual forms?
Generally, online and print resources on slime molds are scarce. In this case, however, Gary Emberger has written a factsheet on Stemonitis, or, as he suggests for common names, chocolate tube slime, tree hair or pipe cleaner slime. Digging a little deeper (i.e., seeing what’s available via Google Scholar), I also discovered that Stemonitis is a food source for mites, beetles and terrestrial molluscs (e.g., slugs) – see Keller, H. and K. Snell. 2002. Feeding activities of slugs on Myxomycetes and macrofungi (PDF). Mycologia. 94(5): 757-760.
In BPotD news, the next few days are a good time to submit photographs via Flickr or the UBC BG forums, as I’ll be using plenty over the next six weeks. Starting Saturday, I’ll be out in the field with Brent Hine for two weeks (more on this in the next few days), back in the office for two weeks, and then off again for another two.