from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various primitive organisms of the phylum Acrasiomycota, especially of the genus Dictyostelium, that grow on dung and decaying vegetation and have a life cycle characterized by a slimelike amoeboid stage and a multicellular reproductive stage. Also called cellular slime mold.
  • n. Any of various organisms of the phylum Myxomycota that grow on decaying vegetation and in moist soil and have a similar but more advanced life cycle. Also called myxomycete.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various primitive organisms, a naked mass or protoplasm, of the phylum Acrasiomycota

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An unusual fungus-like protist of the phylum Myxomycota or the class Myxomycetes, having a stage of growth in which it comprises a naked noncellular multinucleate mass of creeping protoplasm having characteristics of both plants and animals; it also has a propagative phase in which it develops fruiting bodies bearing spores; it is sometimes classified as a protist. It is called also acellular slime mold.
  • n. Any of several remarkable amoebalike organisms of the phylum Acrasiomycota, mostly terrestrial, having a fruiting phase resembling that of the acellular slime molds, but being cellular and nucleate throughout their life cycle; called also cellular slime mold. The most studied species is Dictyostelium discoideum. In their feeding phase, they live like amoebae as individual cells, engulfing bacteria as a prime food source. When the food source diminishes, they begin to aggregate, swarming together to form clumps which may move toward heat and light, so as to reach the surface of the ground; they then differentiate into a form with spores contained within a sporangium resting on a stalk. When the spores are carried to another location with adequate food supplies, the spores may germinate to resume the life cycle. The phase of aggregation appears to be initiated by release of cyclic AMP, serving as a signal between the individual cells. The formation of the fruiting body has some similarities to differentiation in multicellular organisms, but the mechanisms are still under study. Some biologists object to the classification of Dictyostelium as a slime mold, as it is neither a mold nor slimy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A common name for fungi of the group Myxomycetes (which see for characterization). See also Mycetozoa, ├ćthalium, plasmodium, 3.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a naked mass of protoplasm having characteristics of both plants and animals; sometimes classified as protoctists


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