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.