Coral Slime Mold, Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa
Ceratiomyxaceae or Coral Slime Family

In habitat

From a distance -- while standing up, for example, it looks like a whitish mold on fallen logs. A closeup view --on hands and knees-- reveals it to be clusters of whitish, translucent, fuzzy fingers. The fuzz are the spores, born on the outside of the fingers. Fruits on fallen wood summer into fall.


Medium closeup
  Closeup of tubes

As a slime mold this organism grows as a large cell containing many nuclei that crawls through leaf litter eating bacteria, spores and other minute stuff. When conditions are ripe and food is running out, it will produce the spore-bearing coral, using the wood merely as a convenient stage. In good conditions it may be very common in the forested areas of Wildwood

From a distance it would be hard to tell this from any other mold, slime mold, or plain fungal hyphae, but closeup it is unmistakeable. Honeycomb coral slime (C. fruticulosa var. porioides) is a variety of this species in which the fingers fuse together to form honeycombed balls.

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