Slime Mold / Stemonitis axifera
Though I took this photo just over two years ago, I don't seem to have posted it before. Remember finding this one, Doug? This slime mold is so tiny, I don't think I would ever find it myself - this is a very heavily cropped photo. I think this stage of its life is so delicate and beautiful. Seen on Rod Handfield's property when several of us spent the day botanizing there, on 20th July 2009.
"Slime mold is a broad term describing fungi-like organisms that use spores to reproduce. They were formerly classified as fungi, but are no longer considered part of this group.
Their common name refers to part of some of these organism's lifecycles where they can appear gelatinous (hence the name slime). However, this feature is mostly seen with the myxomycetes, which are the only macroscopic slime molds.
Slime molds have been found all over the world and feed on microorganisms that live in any type of dead plant material. For this reason, these organisms are usually found in soil, lawns, and on the forest floor, commonly on deciduous logs. In urban areas, they are found on mulch or even in the leaf mold in gutters. One of the most commonly encountered slime molds, both in nature in forests in the temperate zones of the earth as well as in classrooms and laboratories is the yellow Physarum polycephalum." From Wikipedia.