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Specimen ID

Specimen ID - Botany Forum

Specimen ID - Botany Forum

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Old 05-04-2005, 04:10 PM
Gary G
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Default Specimen ID

I found an usual clump in an outside corner of a door and figured that
it was another wasp nest. Nope. It was fiber-like and very black
inside, of powder consistency. I figure that it is a fungus. The
"spores" look like pollen but differ in the protrusions that one would
see on white blood cells. The following are links to images of this
stuff. Anyone have a clue to what this is?



AFAIK, there is no mycology group.

Gary Gaugler, Ph.D.
Microtechnics, Inc.
Granite Bay, CA 95746
gary@microtechnics dot com
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:12 PM
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Default Specimen ID

Dear Gary,
Most interesting! Clearly you have a scanning electron microscope at
work. I used to do a lot on plant specimens. How did you prepare the
specimens prior to photography? My suspicion is that you sprinkled the
"spores" on a stub, maybe attaching them with double sided tape, and
then gold coated??? I suspect that the "sucked in" look is probably an
artefact, but you could only overcome this if you fixed the specimens
and used a critical point drier.
My absolute guess is you have something like a puffball, but I am not
great at fungi, and certainly not Californian fungi (I am in the UK!).
Maybe if you put up a photo of the "clump" it might aid in the ID. I
shall watch this string to see if we get anywhere!
Best Wishes,
Martin Hodson

Gary G wrote:

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Old 05-05-2005, 12:40 AM
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Default Specimen ID

Hi Gary,
I also have access to an SEM and have looked at fungus spores quite a bit.
Yours don't look familiar to me, but your description of the fungus does not
correspond to anything I have looked at. If you look at David Arora's
"Mushrooms Demystified", you will see that he gives a description of the
spores of most species in the western US. Usually this has the shape,
length range and surface morphology briefly mentioned. To find the species,
though, you probably would not start from the spore.

<[Only registered users see links. ].uk> wrote in message
news:1115226749.778017.17840@o13g2000cwo.googlegro ups.com...

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Old 05-05-2005, 01:43 AM
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Default Specimen ID

In article <[Only registered users see links. ]>,
Gary G <see.signature@bottom> wrote:

I wonder if it could be the sporangium (probably not the current
correct technical term) of a true slime mold, perhaps Fuligo septica,
which produces a crumbly lump, rather than the forest of tiny sporangia
most other Myxomycetes do.

Myxomycetes used to be in the Kingdom Fungi (Myxomycetales) but some
time ago they got thrown out and are now in the Protista like a number
of other strange organisms of uncertain affinity. They certainly have
as much claim to be protozoans as fungi, but not both!

These organisms live on bacteria and are often found in dead organic
matter, like compost heaps and rich soil. Most are small and not very
visible, but some can grow into a network of bright colored strands a
meter or more in diameter. Since they are motile, it's quite
surprising to most people to go out in their garden in the morning and
find it festooned with bright yellow gooey strings of a slime mold
plasmodium that has crawled out of the mulch overnight, getting ready
to sporulate.

You could try "hatching" some spores by moistening them. If they are
myxomycetes, you may get a population of the haploid stage which look
like flagellates or amoebae, depending on the moisture level. These
bogus protozoa multiply by division, but eventually some may fuse to
form the net-like diploid plasmodial stage, which can grow large and
eventually forms the structure you may have found.

I may be leading you astray here, a bit, since I'm not familiar with
the details of F.septica's life cycle, but the above describes the
cycle of some other species. I used do work on the genetics of

There's a bionet.mycology.

See if you can find an image on the net of F.septica's fruiting body,
whatever it's called these days. Let us know what you find out.

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Old 05-05-2005, 01:59 AM
Gary G
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Default Specimen ID

On 4 May 2005 10:12:29 -0700, [Only registered users see links. ] wrote:

Yes, these were done with SEM at 5KV and about 12mm WD. The SEM stub
had a double sticky tab affixed and then I jammed the whole thing onto
a pile of the black stuff. Much came off. What remained is what is
seen. Some of the material got munched into the sticky tab. So they
look like they are submerged. They are. But many on the top are
quite clear. I have images up to 100KX.

Unfortunately, I destroyed the clump thinking that it was a wasp nest.
This was totally wrong. All I have is this specimen stub.

Gary Gaugler, Ph.D.
Microtechnics, Inc.
Granite Bay, CA 95746
gary@microtechnics dot com
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