MYXOMYCETE XX - Something Special for Myxo Lovers - Part 1

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Walter Piorkowski
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:42 pm
Location: South Beloit, Ill

MYXOMYCETE XX - Something Special for Myxo Lovers - Part 1

Post by Walter Piorkowski »


Image #1 All the hypothallus is present on the substrate. The protoplasm (white) has entered it and is deciding how many fruiting bodies to create.


Image #2 The protoplasm has decided what it wants to construct. All protoplasm has now left the hypothallus (clear base membrane) and has entered the newly forming fruiting bodies. Despite the protoplasm being white, an orange color is appearing in a fruiting body to the left.


Image #3 Spherical peridiums begin to appear and start to take on the basic color of the final form

Image 1 - 78 images @ .001 inch increments
Image 2 -106 images @ .001 inch increments
Image 3 -107 images @ .001 inch increments

All images:
Canon 10D
Canon 20mm Macro @ f/5.6 on tubes
Horizontal FOV 5mm
Combine ZM, Photoshop

It has been my goal for a very long time to catch a plasmodium as it emerges onto a substrate to create its fruiting body. This is a matter of experience, keen observation, and a lot of luck. Nobody knows, especially in the field, where one may come to the surface. I suppose that under laboratory culture conditions that one would have more luck.

From my personal study, the hypothallus is completely clear and would only be seen as a shiny spot of slime. It is not until the protoplasm arrives that a color is present, allowing the eye to catch a glimpse of something about to happen. I have also found that the color of the protoplasm is no guarantee of the color of the myxos fruiting body.

To shed some light on the mystery of fructification, I present MYXOMYCETE XX and XXI, a 5 image series. Recently a myxo, in earliest stage of emergence I have ever seen, was found on the forest floor. It was raced to my macro stage and nurtured over a all night 12 hour period were it was photographed every 3 hours to produce these images. Two subject areas were photographed but only one will be shown in this post.

The plasmodium/protoplasm knows somehow that it has been disturbed and will never form its fruiting bodies in my little lab in the same way it will in nature. The remarkable change in this image series took place in 12 hours, yet returning to the subjects forest extraction site 24 hours later revealed that the remaining subjects showed absolutely no change over that seen in image #1.

Why my extracted sample accelerated its production of fruiting bodies and formed possibly distorted shapes, as seen in images 3 and 4, is a mystery to me. Changes in humidity, temperature and lighting certainly had some bearing. However I like to believe that the signal chain through the protoplasmic network, still deep in the substrate, had been severed. Signaling that no more protoplasm would be delivered and that it was time to finish sporulation.

This is my greatest achievement in myxomycete study to this point and it is a pleasure to share it with all of you. It gets me closer to my goal of imaging the entire life cycle. Images 4 and 5 will appear in the next post. Please note that despite the differences each image is of the same subject and field.


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Post by rjlittlefield »

Wow! :shock: Beautiful pictures and a fascinating story. Very, very well done! :D

Is this the first time that you've followed this transformation by eye?


Ken Ramos
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:12 pm
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

Post by Ken Ramos »

Well Walt, your images have answered a lot of questions that I had about the transformation process that myxos undergo, well at least visually that is. :D However there are the other questions that concern me about the transformation. It is said that temperature is one of the key elements that trigger fruitification, the others include humidty and substrate pH as you probably know. The narrative you have provided is indeed quite interesting in the process of obtaining these images and thanks for the painstaking efforts that you went through to bring these informative images to the forums Walt, excellent to say the least. :D

It seems from my reading, that not so much has been studied about myxo's as you have done here. Most of the research these days have been leaning more towards the genome than anything else. There are tons of papers concerning the genome of slime molds but they are pay per view sites, JSTOR for example, among others. Not that I know a great deal about the genome but it seems that it would make for a bit of interesting reading, even for laymen and others, like myself, if presented properly.

Even though the genome of slime molds may be intriguing, it is still the work of which you have presented here that is really of the most interest, with a little more data of course, even more so. Absolutely some astounding images Walt, looking forwards to the next batch. :D

Walter Piorkowski
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:42 pm
Location: South Beloit, Ill

Post by Walter Piorkowski »

Hello Rik. Yes it is. In the last 30 years of looking at these things I would always arrive on the scene, sort of speak, with the fruiting bodies already formed like in my last few post or all dried. This was a real treat as the blobs started changing before my very eyes.

I knew you would find these informative Ken. It is good to hear that you are keeping up with present studies. Genome work is obviously far beyond our capabilities. As you say simple studies such as mine may have fallen out of favor. There may be a simple reason for this. My access to early literature on this subject is limited but what I have accessed showed a great understanding back in the early part of the last century. That may make what I am doing here redundant to present day researchers. I however feel driven to provide images of these interesting subjects and are so glad that you guys like them.


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