Myxomycota is a phylum of the Kingdom Amoebozoa related to protists. The name comes from the Greek Myxo, meaning "slime", and mycota, meaning fungus. They are also known as the plasmodial or acellular slime molds.

Some would also consider myxomycota as a kingdom unto itself, with an unsettled phylogeny because of conflicting molecular and developmental data.

Life Cycle

When a Myxomycota spore germinates, it cracks, releasing an amoeba-like cell called a myxamoeba. The myxamoeba moves like an amoeba, and ingests food via phagocytosis. Its food can include microorganisms and nonliving organic matter. The myxamoeba will divide as it eats. When two myxamoeba of different mating strains (of different populations) find each other, they will merge, forming a zygote. The zygote itself will not divide, but rather it will grow as its nucleus divides, forming a large, multinucleate cell called a plasmodium. The plasmodium will continue to consume organic matter through phagocytosis. After some time, the plasmodium will travel to an open area and convert into a spore-bearing structure called a sporangia. Spores will be released.


Myxomycota can form swarm cells that aggregate, fuse, form a sporangia, sporulate, and return to amoebal or swarm cell stages. The Myxomycota themselves are haploid, and can switch between amoeboid and flagellated forms. The gametes fuse into a zygote, which then becomes a plasmodium, which can produce fruit-like spores.

See also


  • C.J. Alexopolous, Charles W. Mims, M. Blackwell et al., Introductory Mycology, 4th ed. (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken NJ, 2004) ISBN 0-471-52229-5

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