Slime mold Andi talks to Nina

Today we welcome a rather unusual guest on the blog: Slime Mold Andi.

If you could ask a question of a brainless protist renowned for their adaptability, efficiency and memory, what would you ask?

I asked (unsurprisingly), "Andi, what do you think about the Sixth Mass Extinction?"

Andi's human keeper, Jan-Maarten Luursema, relayed my question out loud, then left Andi to their own devices to answer via an ingenious slime-mold-to-human translation method. Andi moves their protozoal yellow body around in the Petri dish, touching letters in order to spell words. A camera records the motion and reads the response out loud. Watch here:

Transcript: "Skyrocket soapstone NHS WV XO I reinforced. You thwart cytoplasm we Soyuz USDA resolute acidify flattering undersoil, hares."

As Jan-Maarten said to me, "Andi is somewhat dense and poetic, no doubt because communicating takes a lot of effort for them and images count for a lot of words."

I took my best shot at interpreting Andi's poetic message, which I welcome you to read on Andi's website, here.

You can even follow Andi on Twitter and ask them a question of your own!

Here are a few of Andi's wild relatives who, as far as I know, aren't on Twitter... They are all a species called Dog Vomit Slime Mold or, more pleasantly, Witch's Butter. The Dutch name, Jan-Maarten taught me, is Heksenboter, and the Latin is Fuligo septica.

I came upon this glowing, banana-yellow specimen in Mousehold Heath, an unassuming public woodland in Norwich, England, in September.

This deliciously oozy organism was clinging to a tree in Washington's Hoh Rainforest this summer.

I wonder what its gooey tendrils feel like to that plant!

Truly something from the science fiction movie Annihilation...

Human Collin peers around the trunk for scale.

Comments

  1. Andi reminds me of my middle school oneness with the Ouija Board.

    I hope Collin fully appreciates being used as scale for a post about dog vomit slime mold. And honor indeed!

    ReplyDelete
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