wolf’s milk slime mold

(Lycogala epidendrum)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

wolf’s milk slime mold

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread across North Amerca

Season

June to November

Habitat/Hosts

Logs and other dead wood

 

 

    Photo by Beth Harrington

Identification

This 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

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

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


Comments

Taxonomy
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.


Taxonomy

No Rank:

Amoebozoa

 

No Rank:

Mycetozoa

 

No Rank:

Myxogastria (plasmodial slime molds)

 

Order:

Liceales

 

Family:

Tubiferaceae

 
Subordinate Taxa

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

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

 
Synonyms

 

 
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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Beth Harrington


on a downed log in a wetlands area

  wolf’s milk slime mold    

       
       
       

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  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.

 
     

 

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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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