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There is a paper detailing how a slime mould can be guided by loading it with ferromagnetic particles and steering it with magnets, but I was wondering whether an un-modified physarum could detect a magnetic field.
I ran a set of 4 time-lapses using a strong magnet (top of picture) and starting conditions as shown in the photo so heading towards the pole would give it a guaranteed food reward. I would expect the slime to preferentially set off towards the pole if it 'learned' that food lay in that direction.
The results were negative. I could see no evidence of a directional preference developing over the course of the four runs. It was displaying the typical fan behaviour in random directions from the start condition.
My conclusion is that Polycephalum physarum can not detect and respond to a magnetic field, at least not in the way I tested it.
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