Physarum polycephalum, often referred to as the “many-headed slime,” is a slime mold that inhabits shady, cool, moist areas, such as decaying leaves and logs. It is typically yellow in color, and eats fungal spores, bacteria, and other microbes. It shuns light but light also triggers spore production. P. polycephalum is one of the easiest eukaryotic microorganisms to grow in culture (e.g. Davidson), and has often been used as a model organism. Most exciting are recent studies that investigate this organism's ability to solve mazes (Nakagaki et al. 2000), anticipate events (Saigusa et al. 2008; Barone 2008), balance its diet (Bonner 2010) and to simulate efficient road networks (Adamasky and Jones 2010). In these cases, multiple cells act together in an intelligent way reminiscent of the behavior of individual organisms or superorganisms like honeybee or ant colonies.
- Nakagaki, Toshiyuki; Yamada, Hiroyasu; Tóth, Ágota (2000). "Intelligence: Maze-solving by an amoeboid organism". Nature 407 (6803): 470. doi:10.1038/35035159. PMID 11028990.
- Saigusa, Tetsu; Tero, Atsushi; Nakagaki, Toshiyuki; Kuramoto, Yoshiki (2008). "Amoebae Anticipate Periodic Events". Physical Review Letters 100 (1): 018101. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.018101. PMID 18232821.
- Barone, Jennifer (2008-12-09). "Top 100 Stories of 2008 #71: Slime Molds Show Surprising Degree of Intelligence". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2011-06-22. http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jan/071
- Bonner, John Tyler (2010). "Brainless behavior: A myxomycete chooses a balanced diet". PNAS 107 (12): 5267–5268. doi:10.1073/pnas.1000861107.
- Adamatzky, Andrew; Jones, Jeff. "Road planning with slime mould: If Physarum built motorways it would route M6/M74 through Newcastle". International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos 20 (10): 3065–3084. doi:10.1142/S0218127410027568.
Physarum polycephalum. (2012, February 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:25, March 20, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Physarum_polycephalum&oldid=479398698.
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