Definition Slime Molds: Quite Tricky
In general, slime molds (mycetozoa) cannot be defined neither as plant, nor as animal, germ, fungus, nor as protozoon. Slime molds form quasi an own category of organisms.
As an explanation, I created a table to visualize the differences and commonalities:
Differences to slime molds
Commonalities with slime molds
No cells with chlorophyll (hence no photosynthesis)
no cell wall
no multicellular organisms
no blossoms, no pollination, no peduncle, no root
- no sub-division of the body
- no multicellular organisms
only one single cell
flagellum as Flagellat
This table can be continued, I only summarized the most important facts.
So what is a slime mold?
Slime molds form an own group of organisms, which resemble, if anything, to the amoeba (slime molds are also called "social amoeba") and hence to the protozoa (as you can see in the table above, they have got most characteristics and the most important ones in common). A slime mold thus is kind of a giant amoeba with billions of cell nuclei.
How did these giant amoeba come into existence?
That is a big issue among scientists. Either slime molds originally have been multicellular organisms and their cell membranes vanished in the course of time, or the have been protozoa (single cellular organisms), whose nuclei proliferated without separation of the whole cell.
How does a slime mold look like?
And where can these slime molds be found?
That is not easy to say. Someones can be found because of their eye-catching colors (red, yellow...), in the forest (mainly on dead, humid wood or leaves. Or they can be detected on manure piles, composts, bark mulch, ... Some species are inconspicuous, white colored or transparent or underground. Usually only "slimy" slime molds (the plasmodial form) can be found in the nature, as the fruiting bodies are very small and difficult to find if you do not know what to look for.