The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

I thought I'd make a thread to chronicle the exploits of my slime mold, Bob. Bob the blob.

I accidentally collected Bob around the beginning of this month, when I was out looking for and collecting some orange springtails. Bob was a small orange speck, and I was looking for small orange specks.. When I was back inside and going through the spoils of my collection under my stereo microscope, I noticed that it wasn't a springtail, but some solid chunk of orange substance. I figured it was probably some sort of fungus or something, so I threw it in the culture with the orange springtails I had collected, thinking they might eat it.

Well, I checked in on them the next day. And whoo boy! The solid orange chunk had turned into goop and started moving around! I immediately recognized it as a slime mold. I decided to leave it in the springtail enclosure and see if the springtails would be interested it in. And it turns out, they were.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much in there, and the springtails seemed to be damaging it, so I took some out and put it in another container by itself. I used the same sort of setup that i was using for my springtails, since that already seemed to be working. A 4oz deli cup with a mixture of about 10:1 plaster and carbon powder. I tried a few different foods - some millet seed, and a couple of types of springtail food. It seemed to like spirulina, so that's mostly what I fed it. It was at this point that I named it Bob.

Bob was in pretty poor shape at this point. Just a tiny speck of plasmodium, not even really able to branch hardly at all. But it kept eating the spirulina I put down beside it, and was growing (albiet slowly).

In the meantime, I had been working on putting together a little setup with a 60mm olympus macro lens attached to a wyze wifi webcam, so I could take some timelapses. After a week or two I finally got it ready, and I moved Bob into a dark closet, and started taking a timelapse. It was great being able to  actually see Bob move! I knew Bob moved of course, it was always different when I looked in throughout the day, but I hadn't yet been able to actually see the movement.

After a couple of days in the dark closet though, Bob pulled in on itself and coagulated into a few small balls. I tried adding some more water, and putting food on/by it, but Bob was refusing to come out of its self-induced coma.

I get you Bob, sometimes I feel that way too.

I wasn't sure if these were fruiting bodies, or sclerotia or what. So I posted to facebook and got some advice from some knowledgeable people there. They mentioned that it should be kept in a shaded area out of direct light, but not in total darkness. So, I took it out of the dark closet and put it back where I had been keeping it previously. And wouldn't ya know it, Bob started perking back up. Or well, turning into goop. Which I guess is the slime mold equivalent of perking up.

And that's the story of Bob so far.

I was hoping to culture and propagate Bob, to use as food for my orange springtails. But with as slow as Bob is growing so far, I'm not sure if that's feasible. But I'm invested in Bob now, and want to see it succeed and grow regardless :)

time lapses:

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I was looking at Bob under my stereo microscope today, and I noticed a strange texture on the surface of some of the food. I thought it might be small blobs of slime, so I set up my good macro camera and grabbed 3 shots, 5 minutes apart.

Yep! The texture was definitely moving.

I'm not positive, but I believe those are the single cells before they coalesce. swarm cells, I think they're called? I took some measurements and it looks like they're in the vicinity of 20 microns in diameter, which, after a brief search of the literature, looks to be in the right ballpark.

Bob has become legion!


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