Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Just Two Slime Molds Having a Chat in a Petri Dish

By Jennifer WalterOctober 7, 2019 5:00 PM
DSC-CR1119 01 slime mold
(Credit: David Villa/CNRS Photothèque)


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

No, it’s not a Rorschach inkblot: This image captures two single-celled organisms having a chat. Individual members of Physarum polycephalum, which in nature clump together by the thousands to form a slime mold, can share information about their environment via veinlike networks. While researchers have long known that the collective slime molds can learn to avoid irritants, such as salt, they didn’t know how. But a recent study showed that a single P. polycephalum will actually absorb some of a potentially problematic substance and hang onto it like a souvenir — and use its venous networks to warn other cells to steer clear. 

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In