Any of about 500 species of primitive organisms that contain true nuclei and resemble both protists and fungi (see fungus). Originally grouped within the kingdom Fungi, some classification systems consider slime molds to be in the kingdom Protista. They typically thrive in dark, cool, moist conditions such as on forest floors. Bacteria, yeast, molds, and fungi provide the main source of slime-mold nutrition. The complex life cycle of slime molds, exhibiting complete alternation of generations, may clarify the early evolution of both plant and animal cells. In the presence of water a tiny spore releases a mass of cytoplasm called a swarm cell, which later develops into an amoebalike creeping cell called a myxamoeba. Both swarm cells and myxamoebas can fuse in sexual union; the resulting fertilized cell, or plasmodium, grows through nuclear division and forms a spore case, which, when it dries, disintegrates and releases spores to begin the cycle again.
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Any of about 30 species of primitive jawless fishes in two families of the class Agnatha. The Myxinidae are found in every ocean; the Eptatretidae are found everywhere but the North Atlantic. Hagfishes are eel-like, scaleless, and soft-skinned and have paired thick barbels on the end of the snout. Species grow to 16–32 in. (40–80 cm) long. They have a cartilaginous skeleton. The mouth is a slitlike, sucking opening with horny teeth. Found in cold seawater, to depths of over 4,000 ft (1,200 m), they habitually lie buried in burrows on soft bottoms. They eat invertebrates and dead or crippled fishes, and may bore their way into the bodies of fish caught on lines or in nets and eat the fish from the inside. They secrete extraordinary amounts of slime when handled. Seealso lamprey.
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Slime may refer to: