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slime mold

noun
1.
any of various funguslike organisms belonging to the phylum Myxomycota, of the kingdom Protista (or the plant class Myxomycetes), characterized by a noncellular, multinucleate, creeping somatic phase and a propagative phase in which fruiting bodies are produced bearing spores that are covered by cell walls.
2.
any of several similar organisms of the phylum Acrasiomycota (or class Acrasiomycetes), differing from the true slime molds in being cellular and nucleate throughout the life cycle.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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slime-mold in Science
slime mold  
Any of various organisms that exist as slimy masses and are commonly found on decaying plant matter. They are classified among the protists as two distinct phyla, Dictyolsteliomycota (the cellular slime molds) and Myxomycota (the plasmodial slime molds). The two phyla are not directly related to each other. ◇ Cellular slime molds live as single, amoeba-like cells moving about feeding on bacteria. When food becomes scarce, they combine into a large, slug-like, mobile colony. This migrates to a new area before developing into a multicellular stalked structure that produces and releases spores. Each spore then develops into a new amoeba-like cell. ◇ Plasmodial slime molds exist as a mass of amoeba-like protoplasm (called a plasmodium) that contains many nuclei within a single cell membrane. A single organism can spread out thinly and cover up to several square meters. The slimy mass moves along ingesting bacteria, fungi, and other organic matter. When food grows scarce, they stop moving and grow multicellular, spore-producing stalks. The plasmodial slime molds are also called myxomycetes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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