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Group of Fungi: Slime Molds
Latin Name: Lycogala epidendrum (J. C. Buxb. ex L.) Fr.
Common Name: Wolf's-milk Slime Mold
Description: Globose to slightly flattened or somewhat angular (from several occurring together) structure, 1/8–5/8 in (0.3–1.5 cm) wide and high, pinkish gray to yellow-brown or almost black, surface roughened or with scattered warts, often developing an opening at the top; spores at first pink in mass but changing to pale ochraceous or pallid.
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; solitary or occurring in small or 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. Lycogala epidendrum is one of the most widely distributed and well-known slime molds. The fruiting bodies resemble puffballs but are much smaller. If an immature fruiting body is broken open, the contents ooze out as a pink slimy substance that has the consistency of toothpaste.