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Group of Fungi: Slime Molds
Latin Name: Arcyria denudata (L.) Wettst.
Common Name: Carnival Candy Slime Mold
Description: Ovate to cylindrical structure 1/16–1/4 in (1.5–5 mm) high and 1/64–1/32 in (0.5–1.0 mm) wide on a tiny stalk that is not readily apparent, pinkish red to brick red but weathering to brown; stalk less than one-fourth the total height, the same color as the rest of the fruiting body; spores red or reddish brown in mass.
Biological Role: The vegetative stage (called a plasmodium) in the life cycle of this organism feeds upon the bacteria associated with decaying plant material.
Habitat: On decaying wood or (less commonly) bark in broadleaf or conifer forests; usually occurring in large groups.
Geographical Distribution: Found throughout the world.
Comments: The slime molds are not true fungi but are found in many of the same situations. Because of their bright red color, the fruiting bodies of Arcyria denudata are easily noticed in nature. Large fruitings can be six inches (15 cm) or more in total extent.