Slime Molds – Mycetozoa

Stemonitis sp

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A species of this genera was displayed at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair “Believe it or not” exhibit as “hair growing on wood.” (Farr, 2) Looking at the species I found, it does appear like hair.

Species in this genera need to have the capillitium examined and it is best done when all the spores have been removed. The single most important feature for making identifications is the surface net which is just beneath the peridium and connected to the tips of the capillitium.

Beetles that are associated with this are normally found in the sporangia. They are quite small and they burrow into it to feed on the spore mass. It is very easy to overlook these but look for their entry holes in the peridium. It’s unknown what role the beetles play but it is believed they act as dispersal mechanisms for the spores. I suspect the same would be said for the flies that associate with this fungi.