Badhamia utricularis is a species of slime mold in the family Physaraceae. As you walk around in our island forests, and if you look, you might see just the fruiting bodies hanging on the underside of deadwood of this slime mold. My son Robert was walking along the estuary shore of the Salmon River and found up under the bank, hanging from roots a good example of Badhamia Utricularis right at the beginning of fruiting.
He returned home to show me some photos and I was very intrigued, to say the least. I followed him back out the following day to take a look. When Robert had spotted them, the fruiting bodies were a bright yellow, but by the time we arrived the next day, they were a dark orange in color with a few looking dark brown.
Slime Molds at one time were considered to be fungi but are now classified in the Protista kingdom. They will begin life as tiny amoeba-like organisms that search out bacteria to eat. If they are lucky enough to find a mate, they will produce plasmodia, these are slimy masses that can grow to a pretty large size feeding on bacterias, yeasts, fungi or dissolved nutrients. As they grow, they can move like a giant amoeba. When their food source begins to wane, the plasmodium migrates to the surface of the mold and produces fruiting bodies. The fruiting bodies will go from yellow through to orange and eventually will turn grey. At this stage, they release their spores that will then get carried away with the wind to start the whole process again.
Slime molds have always fascinated me, they are practically alien. There are more than 900 species of slime molds worldwide. They are all beautiful.