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Acellular slime moulds

Acellular slime moulds, also called myxomycetes or plasmodial slime moulds, are an early evolutionary lineage among amoeboidal organisms which is different from the branch from which fungi and animals evolved. The life cycle consists of a motile stage, a plasmodium, that develops into spore-producing fruitbodies. Most species have small fruitbodies (ca 1–10 mm). They occur all over the world and in all biotopes, and about 1 000 species have been recognized so far. The largest diversity is found in temperate regions, but they are found in hot desert areas as well as in arctic regions. Some species are adapted to development under a snow layer.

Acellular slime moulds are collected in the fruiting stage with a piece of the substratum, and glued to the bottom of a box to prevent damage to the fragile fruitbodies. Dried-up plasmodia that have formed a resting stage are rarely identifiable to species, but may be revived if rewetted, even after several decades. Very small fruitbodies (0.1 mm or less) may be preserved as microscope slides.

The collection in Herbarium GB comprises about 9 000 specimens and is one of the largest collections in northern Europe. The oldest specimens stem from Otto Jaap’s collection from Central Europe in the early 1900s. A small number of specimens taken by Carl Skottsberg in the Juan Fernández Islands are of special interest due to their origin. Harold Keller´s collection from different parts of the United States has been donated to Herbarium GB, and comprises about 2 200 specimens. Uno Eliasson´s collections amount to about 5 500 specimens, and are the bulk of the slime mould collection. The majority originate from Sweden, and include material from a 4-year field study in a conifer forest area in the province of Västergötland, a study published in Holarctic Ecology, vol. 4 (1981). Uno Eliasson´s collections from Hawaii may be the largest in the world from this archipelago and are part of the Hawaii Biological Survey. Collections have also been brought together from other parts of the world, such as mainland United States, Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands, and Cuba.

Hemitrichia serpula

Hemitrichia pardina

Page Manager: Sven Toresson|Last update: 11/27/2017

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