wolf’s milk slime mold

(Lycogala epidendrum)

Conservation Status
wolf’s milk slime mold
Photo by Beth Harrington
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Wolf’s milk slime mold is a common and widespread plasmodial slime mold. It is found from June through November, usually in groups, sometimes scattered, on well rotted logs and other dead wood.

The fruiting body is a plump, pillow-like mass (aethalium) of protoplasm enclosed in an surface crust. It looks like a small puffball. Each aethalium is globe-shaped to hemispherical and to in diameter. It is pink at first and filled with a pink paste that has a texture often compared to toothpaste. As it matures it becomes yellowish-brown to olive brown, darkening as it ages. The interior of a mature aethalium is a dry, powdery, pinkish-gray mass of spores.

It is not edible.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Logs and other dead wood

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

June to November

 
     
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
  5/16/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread across North Amerca

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Protozoa (protozoans)  
  Phylum Mycetozoa (slime molds)  
  Class Myxomycetes (true slime molds)  
  Order Liceales  
  Family Tubiferaceae  
 

Genus

Lycogala  
       
 

The taxonomy of slime molds changes frequently—it is a work in progress. ITIS (originally referred to as the Interagency Taxonomic Information System) places all slime molds in the Fungi kingdom. That is no longer accepted. ITIS places wolf’s milk slime mold in the Reticulariaceae family. National Center for Biotechnology Information Search database (NCBI) places it in the Enteridiidae family. Index Fungorum places it in the Tubiferaceae family. ITIS has spotty coverage of fungi species. NCBI is usually reliable but has the following disclaimer on every page: “The NCBI taxonomy database is not an authoritative source for nomenclature or classification - please consult the relevant scientific literature for the most reliable information.” Index Fungorum should be considered the final word on the taxonomy of fungi.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

wolf’s milk slime mold (Lycogala epidendrum var. cristatum)

wolf’s milk slime mold (Lycogala epidendrum var. tessellatum)

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

toothpaste slime

wolf’s milk

wolf’s milk slime

wolf’s milk slime mold

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Aethalium

The large, pillow-like, fruiting body with an outer crust of some slime molds, formed by the fusion of many plasmodia into a single functional mass. Plural: aethalia.

       
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Luciearl
       
  wolf’s milk slime mold    
       
Beth Harrington
       

on a downed log in a wetlands area

  wolf’s milk slime mold    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Lycogala epidendrum
ginann
 
  Lycogala epidendrum  
     
  Lycogala epidendrum
Markus Kauppinen
 
  Lycogala epidendrum  

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Wolf's Milk Slime/ Lycogala epidendrum
The Roaming Gnome...Glenn Munro! VRCM/SkyWarn
 
   
 
About

Published on May 13, 2016

Little round, reddish pink balls. Exudes pinkish-grey paste when popped. Listed as inedible. This specimen was located in central missouri.

   
       
  Nature Insights - The Wolf's Milk Slime Mold at Spier's Old School Grounds
Roger Griffith
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 30, 2014

These pink blobs represent huge single celled Wolf's Milk or Wolf's Blood slime molds with thousands of nuclei that reach this size following long periods of feeding on bacteria, yeast, etc. The feeding stage is called a syncytium and the aethial stage is the reproductive stage where the mold goes a brown colour and changes into thousands of spores that are dispersed by wind, rain, etc.

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

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Luciearl
108382019

Location: Fairview Twp., Cass County

wolf’s milk slime mold


Beth Harrington
10/4/2018

Location: SW Rochester, MN

on a downed log in a wetlands area

wolf’s milk slime mold


     
     
 
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Created: 10/8/2018

Last Updated:

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