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Slime Moulds by Barry Webb

For the complete and regularly updated list of entries click here

Entries with a green background indicate rare sightings 11

Entries with a yellow background indicate species new to Britain

March 16th 2021

Arcyria cinerea by Barry Webb Arcyria cinerea (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry found this quite common species in Burnham Beeches on fallen Birch (19.08.2020). This is an attractive genus, producing sporangia shaped like tiny loofahs on stalks though their plasmodium - mostly patches of white sticky blobs like many slime mould genera - gives away nothing of its final shape when mature. This particular species is unique in its off white to pale grey colour.
Arcyria denudata by Barry Webb Arcyria denudata (a Slime Mould with no common name)

This stunning photo was taken by Barry Webb of a collection on fallen Beech in Burnham Beeches. Like most Slime Moulds, this species starts out as a cluster of slimy white blobs (the plasmodium stage) when identification even to genus is not possible. As it matures it dries off and forms these remarkable miniature 'loofahs' on shiny red stalks, the whole being 6 mms high at most! There are quite a few species of Arcyria, some rare, some common as is this one, but none are quite so eye-catching. Note how the stalk develops into a cup which supports the spore mass column, seen here in various stages of maturity.
Arcyria obvelata by Barry Webb Arcyria obvelata (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry found this quite common species in Burnham Beeches on rotten Beech (01.08.2020), though we have only two previous county records. It is an easy one to recognise when mature being alone amongst species of Arcyria in having a somewhat drooping shape, a rather loose mesh and a very short stalk, the cream yellow colour is another distinctive feature though one or two other species can also be this colour (but not this shape).
Collaria (was Comatricha)  lurida  Barry Webb Collaria (was Comatricha)  lurida  by Barry Webb Collaria (= Comatricha) lurida (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this very rare Myxomycete in Burnham Beeches on Holly and Beech leaves in a woodchip pile. The species is, however, extremely similar to the much less rare C. elegans, so Penny was a bit sceptical about this determination (made from Barry's excellent photos by a Myxomycete expert online) until Barry said he'd been asked to include a photo of a specimen with the spore mass blown away, revealing the distinctive shape of the columella within (like the skeleton) as well as the collar which forms beneath. The two species are easily separated by their individually shaped columellas, also C. lurida occurs on deciduous leaves, particularly Holly as here, whereas C. elegans occurs on conifer wood - not present in this woodchip pile. Case closed! Not only is this a notable find for the county but there are very few UK records of this species.
Scomatricha nigra by Barry Webb Comatricha nigra (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry found this one in Penn Wood on a rotting Pine branch (10.10.2020) and though he says he finds it commonly locally this is only our third county record. (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Edvin Johannesen.) This beautiful little species occurs on bark on many trees, especially conifer. It is characterised by its long hairlike black stalk and tiny globose pinkish top section, the whole less than 1 cm tall and occurring in colonies, often forming lines.
Comatricha pulchella or anomala, possibly by Barry Webb Comatricha pulchella or anomala? (a Slime Mould with no common name)

A beautiful photo, by Barry Webb, of a species which, however, needs confirmation using a microscope which was unfortunately not able to be carried out here.
Craterium minutum  by Barry Webb Craterium minutum  by Barry Webb Craterium minutum (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found these tiny little beauties in Burnham Beeches on leaves of Holly and Beech in a woodchip pile (14.03.2021). (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Valerie Bruneau Querey.) These miniscule little wine goblets are only about 1 mm high, each initially covered by a flat lid which in the RH sporangium in photo 2 can be seen just lifting off to reveal the spore mass beneath. This is a distinctive species, its shape together with the ochre colour and lid making it recognisable in the field. We have just two previous county records though this appears to be a first for Burnham Beeches.
Cribraria aurantiiaca by Barry Webb Cribraria aurantiaca by Barry Webb


Cribaria rufa  by Barry Webb Cribraria rufa by Barry Webb Cribraria rufa (a slime mould with no common name)

In Penn Wood (20.09.2020) Barry Webb found this tiny little specimen fruiting on fallen rotten Pine. About 20 species of this beautiful genus occur in the UK, mostly found on rotting conifer wood, and this one has apparently become much more common with the increase in plantations. However, we have no previous records in the county.
Cribraria sp by Barry Webb Cribraria sp by Barry Webb


Didymium clavus by Barry Webb Didymium clavus (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this tiny specimen in deciduous leaf litter in Burnham Beeches (30.12.2020) - a new record for the site and also for the county. (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Edvin Johannesen.) Didymium is a large and tricky genus, many species of which look extremely similar. They are characterised by having a covering of calcium carbonate crystals, either as an egg-shell crust or a dusting as here, either with or without a stalk - the relative length of which, if present, is significant together with its shape and colour.The top spore-bearing part can be globose or discoid (more flattened) as here. Despite our lack of records, this is described as a common species on deciduous leaf litter.
Didymium nigripes by Barry Webb Didymium nigripes (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this tiny slime mould in deciduous leaf litter in Burnham Beeches (18.09.2020) where it was new for the site though we have only one previous county record. (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Fred Spiegel.) It is described as quite common across the country though most records seem to be from the south. See notes for D. clavus for general comments on the genus. The relatively long dark narrowing stalk and globose spore-bearing head are characteristic of this particular species.
Didymium squamulosum  by Barry Webb Didymium squamulosum (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this beautiful slime mould in deciduous leaf litter in Burnham Beeches (28.12.2020). (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Paco Moreno) This is one of the commonest species of Didymium and we have plenty of county records though apparently only one previously for this site back in 1923! See notes for D. clavus for general comments on the genus. The short white stalk and subglobose spore-bearing head are characteristic of this particular species.
Enerthenema papillatum   by Barry Webb Enerthenema papillatum by Barry Webb Enerthenema papillatum (a slime mould with no common name)

In Penn Wood Barry Webb found these tiny specimens growing on rotting fallen Beech (22.08.2020). This is the only species of the genus found in the UK and though apparently common we have just three previous records from the north of the county, the most recent of which was in 2001. The distinctive flattened top with shiny central disc and black stalk narrowing at the top make this species recognisable in the field. The central disc can be seen already forming in the immature specimens in photo 2.
Hemitrichia calyculata  by Barry Webb Hemitrichia calyculata. by Barry Webb Hemitrichia calyculata (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this beautiful slime mould on fallen rotting Birch in Common Wood (01.03.2021). Though described as a common species in the south, this appears to be our first county record - reflecting the general lack of local expertise and interest in slime moulds until Barry put this right and started producing his amazing photos.There are several very similar species, so Penny would have been happier to have checked the microscopic characters as it's a first for the county, but the dark solid stalk suddenly flaring out at the top together with the tear-drop shaped sporangium (spore bearing mass) having a shallow shiny cup with typically frayed edges is sufficiently diagnostic to confirm Barry's determination.
Lamproderma scintillans  by Barry Webb Lamproderma scintillans (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found these glistening little beauties (only 1-2 mm high) in Burnham Beeches (24.12.2020) in deciduous leaf litter. This species is not only new to the site but also to the county. (The determination was confirmed by Andy Sands from Barry's excellent photo.) The iridescent colours are typical of the genus, all species of which are very small thus often missed and presumably under-recorded also.
Lamproderma sp. by Barry Webb Lamproderma sp. by Barry Webb


Metatrichia floriformis  by Barry Webb Metatrichia floriformis by Barry Webb Metatrichia floriformis (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry Webb took the first photo in Penn Wood (17.10.2020), part of a colony of this tiny very common slime mould which grows on rotting damp fallen wood. The plasmodium (early slimy stage) of this particular species is dark red to black, then it gradually 'mutates', developing into these black blobs on stalks less than 4 mm high which then split open forming a flower-like shape (hence its species name) and from which the spore mass disperses. The second photo, taken in 2019 at the same site in Penn Wood, shows this later stage.
Physarum album  by Barry Webb Physarum album (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this quite common species (previously known as Physarum nutans) in Burnham Beeches (01.11.2020) growing in Beech litter. A member of a large and difficult genus to identify to species, this particular species can with experience be named in the field because of its 'nodding' habit: the heads, covered in white crystals, tend to droop. Found sometimes in large colonies, each sporocarp (fruiting body) is no taller than 1 cm.
Physarum compressum  by Barry Webb Physarum compressum  by Barry Webb Physarum compressum (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this delightful line of tiny blobs in Burnham Beeches (16.03.2021) on a woodchip pile. (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Edvin Johannesen.) This particular species has a very dumpy short stalk (not called a stem or stipe as in fungi) and over all is no more than 1 mm tall. Though described as quite common, this is our first record for the county.
Physarum leucophaeum  by Barry Webb Physarum leucophaeum (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found these tiny gems on rotting fallen Beech in Burnham Beeches (16.10.2020). No more than 1.5 mm high, this species is a member of a very large genus which has a protective coating of calcareous crystals or granules covering the sporangium (fruiting head), giving the appearance of being dusted with icing sugar. We have just two county records of this species, reflecting the rarity of expertise amongst recorders rather than of what is apparently a common species! (See also P. leucopus found the same day.)
Physarum leucopus  by Barry Webb Physarum leucopus (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this uncommon slime mould growing in moss on a Beech log in Burnham Beeches 06.11.2020). (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Edvin Johannesen.) Clearly very similar to P. leucophaeum, (see notes for that species), it inhabits woodland debris rather than wood itself and has a distinctive white stalk, hence its species name. This is new not only to the site but also to the county.
Physarum pusillum by Barry Webb Physarum pusillum by Barry Webb Physarum pusillum (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found this inconspicuous species in Burnham Beeches (29.03.2021) on a woodchip pile. (The determination was confirmed online by Myxo expert Edvin Johannesen.) This particular species is distinguished by its relatively tall and slender reddish brown stalk, the whole sporangia being only up to 2mm tall. Though described as quite common, this is yet another first record for the county.
Stemonitis sp by Barry Webb Stemonitis sp by Barry Webb


Stemonitopsis hyperopta or amoena, possibly by Barry Webb Stemonitopsis hyperopta or amoena, possibly by Barry Webb


Stemonitopsis typhina by Barry Webb Stemonitopsis typhina (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry Webb took this beautiful photo of a very common slime mould found on a damp Beech branch in Burnham Beeches (19.10.2020). Each sporocarp (fruiting body) is no more than 5 mm high and its shape resembles the similar genus Stemonitis but the species is characterised by these persistently silvery shining cylindrical heads and beneath them a stalk reminiscent of old fashioned silk stockings, the central black core looking like the seam!
Trichia botrytis  by Barry Webb Trichia botrytis (a slime mould with no common name)

In Penn Wood (21.11.2020) Barry Webb found this cluster of tiny specimens fruiting on fallen Oak. There are many species of Trichia and a scope is nearly always needed to name them but the very distinctive mottled markings seen here are enough to separate it from others in the field.
Trichia decipiens by Barry Webb Trichia decipiens by Barry Webb Trichia decipiens (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found these tiny orange blobs on stalks on rotting fallen Beech in Burnham Beeches. Most Slime Moulds have white plasmodium at this immature stage when identification even to genus is not possible, but a few species have brightly coloured plasmodium and can be named, this being one of them. There are many species of the genus Trichia but only this species has white stalks with orange to pink blobs on top when immature. Photo 2 shows a more mature example (this one from Penn Wood - 01.11.2020), when the blobs are drying off but are still not mature enough to have developed spores.
Tubifera ferruginosa  by Barry Webb Tubifera ferruginosa  by Barry Webb Tubifera ferruginosa (a Slime Mould with no common name)

Barry found this very common species in Burnham Beeches on fallen Birch (07.09.2020) though it most commonly occurs on fallen Pine. It has possibly the brightest plasmodium of all slime moulds: coloured brilliant orange, apricot or pink and leaving little doubt as to species especially when found on Pine where no other slime mould is this colour. Photo 2 shows a patch rapidly maturing when it becomes dull brown and inconspicuous.

More of Barry's photos (not slime moulds but tiny fungi) follow below:

Philobolus crystallinus by Barry Webb Pilobolus crystallinus (Dung Cannon - a Phycomycete i.e. a form of Ascomycete)

Barry Webb took this remarkable photo of an amazing fungus found on pony dung in Burnham Beeches (17.07.2020). Each fruiting body is less than 1 cm tall and the fungus has the unique ability to literally fire its mature spores up to 2 meters away where their sticky coating adheres them to the vegetation which is then consumed by grazing animals, passes through the gut to develop on their dung where the whole cycle is repeated. The fungus can be found on the dung of various animals including deer, rabbit, squirrel as well as horse as here.
Scutellinia scutellata  by Barry Webb Scutellinia scutellata  by Barry Webb Scutellinia scutellata (Eyelash Fungus) with Metatrichia floriformis (a slime mould with no common name)

Barry Webb found these two species growing together on rotting bare wood in Burnham Beeches (10.01.2020). Though not checked with a scope, the Eyelash Fungus is likely to be this particular species which has by far the longest 'eyelashes' surrounding its cup in the genus. The tiny stalked black slime mould specimens are at the stage just prior to splitting open to reveal the spore mass within. Photo 2 demonstrates the difference in size between the species - the Scutellinia being no more than 1.5 cms across.