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Slime mould fruiting bodies. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the fruiting bodies (sporangia) of the slime mould Metatrichia floriformis. Each sporangium grows on a stalk or stipe (brown) from the main body of the organism (not seen). The spores are coloured orange. Slime moulds are not fungi, but a separate group with complex life cycles. Metatrichia is plasmodial: the spores pass through a free-living single-celled phase before fusing in pairs and growing into a plasmodium. This is a mass of protoplasm with multiple nuclei. It can be centimetres across and is capable of slow movement to find food. Magnification: x10 at 6x6cm size.
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