In Search of Slime

We had no winter rain when we did our scouting trip on 1/9/12. JO, DP and I hiked the Stevens Creek Nature Trail loop from 10:25-3:10 and found few slime molds, and some dried up fungi. On our old Madrone, we found a couple small patches of yellow slime mold fruiting bodies, and the Stictis and tiny fungal bells that we’ve seen in previous years.

Stictis at El Corte de Madera


We saw another set of fruiting bodies, few milkmaids in bloom, a small slug, Slender Salamanders, and a couple sets of puffballs in different places. The highlight of the scouting trip was a new millipede species for us, under a log. There was also a strange, stiff hair-like bunch of something on the cut end of a log. The water in the creek was very low, and the small sag pond was only damp.

The rain came on 1/19-20, but there wasn’t enough time to allow for much to happen by 1/21. The temperature was in the low 40’s according to weather.com; it was certainly less than 50F, partly cloudy. Two participants joined us, including one other docent.

We started off at 12:45. Someone spotted a large, rose-like Polypore, of which there were a few at the bottom of a tree. We found several instances of Tremella, a yellow jelly fungus that is parasitic on other fungi. The hair-like stuff was now pliable due to the recent rain. There was also a brown jelly, slime mold sporocarps, Calocera cornea which had rehydrated, and a white jelly resembling Pseudohydnum gelatinosum. This time we saw three newts, one Slender Salamander, and one small slug.

Once we reached the creek crossing, we knew that we had passed the best section for slime molds. The group decided to finish the loop but walk at a faster pace. The small sag pond now had some water, but it was brown and still low.

We did see birds’ nest fungi on the Canyon Trail, and the bottom layer of a patch of slime mold fruiting bodies on a piece of fallen wood. When near the large sag pond, we heard a Pileated Woodpecker. We arrived back at 4:30.

You can see more photos here.

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For more on slime molds (Myxomycetes), see The Eumycetozoan Project.
Another gallery can be found here: Photo Gallery of Myxomycetes.

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