How Does a Fungus-Like Protist Obtain Food?

A fungus-like protist obtains food by crawling over it and enveloping it, taking food particles into itself in a manner similar to how amoebas eat. These protists often consume decaying plant matter on damp forest floors, but other species are plant or animal parasites in different environments.

There are four groups of fungus-like protists: cellular slime molds, plasmodial slime molds, slime nets and water molds. These groups are neither closely related to each other nor to fungi. Cellular slime molds are masses of individual amoeba-like cells that sometimes congregate into slug-like forms to move and reproduce.

Plasmodial slime molds lose their individual identities as they come together, dissolving the cell membranes between them and becoming single, huge cells with many nuclei. These nuclei float freely within the cytoplasm. Slime nets are made up of multiple individual cells that always live in colonies.They are named for their ability to stretch out membranes from their cells into which the colonies flow.

Water molds are largely aquatic, and appear in both fresh and salt water. These grow in colonies with branching, filament-like forms. They have cellulose cell walls akin to plants. Some water molds are extremely destructive plant pathogens, striking crops such as potatoes, grapes and avocados.