Friday, July 04, 2008

Science Friday - Fungi

A walk in the woods provides a wealth of science studies for the home-based learner. As we walked, we took photos of things we found, wondering aloud if the world as we know it came to an end, could we survive in these woods? Could we find things to eat? Of course, mushrooms are easily found in the woods, but who dares to trust their knowledge of the edible ones?

Here is a photo of chicken or "chicken of the woods" mushrooms, so named because properly prepared, they have a chicken-like flavor. Supposedly, there is no other poisonous mushroom that looks like them.

I'd have to be awfully hungry to fry up some of those.
And these are Turkey Tail Mushrooms. Evidently, whomever named all the mushrooms was thinking about what they'd rather be eating than mushrooms. They aren't very appetizing, but do have a medicinal value, supposedly, (not that I'm recommending).

But one of the coolest things we found was yellow slime mold: Physarum polycephalum, a plasmodial slime mold. Can't eat that! But, what is interesting about it is that it is not a mold nor fungus. It is actually more like an amoeba, and does move, hence slime or a member of the Kingdom Protista. It eats food! It moves! Creepy. Read more here.



Science Friday Challenge
The forest floor is also host to a number of critters. Name this bug:


For really cool information on science, go to Science Friday. Leave a link in the comments for your favorite science website.

2 comments:

Flock Fold Kids said...

Cathy,

It's a yellow-and-black pill millipede, scientific name Apheloria virginiensis corrugata:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeoncanvas/2246709201/

As the site says, these are poisonous millipedes--they emit a cyanide compound. Also see

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/millipedes.html

(a little over halfway down the page).

pita-woman said...

I was going to guess centipede... close but no cigar, eh?
As for the slime, all I can say is "EEWWW!" Makes me think of that creature in the movie "The Blob".

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