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With their bizarre life cycles and shapeshifting abilities, there aren’t many lifeforms as weird as slime moulds. For one thing, they’re not moulds. A lot of the time, they’re not even slimy. They can exist as single-celled loners or as ‘supercells’ made up of millions of individuals. Sometimes they look like toadstools, and sometimes they behave like slugs. But they’re neither. Hence the weirdness.

“The fact that you can find the same species pretty much anywhere on the planet is fascinating to me,” says Andy Sands, a UK-based photographer who spent months searching for slime moulds under dead logs in the woods around his Hertfordshire home. Andy’s close-up studies reveal in surprising detail the weird world that exists underneath our feet.

To find out more – and to discover how these ancient, primitive organisms are opening up new frontiers of research check out our full story PDF, complete with text, here.

Slime mould (Physarum album), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum album), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Arcyria denudata), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Arcyria denudata), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in streaming / plasmodial phase, seeking nutrients on rotting wood. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in streaming / plasmodial phase, seeking nutrients on rotting wood. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in streaming / plasmodial phase, seeking nutrients on rotting wood. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in streaming / plasmodial phase, seeking nutrients on rotting wood. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase. Close-up of single fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase. Close-up of single fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Tubifera ferruginosa), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Tubifera ferruginosa), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of maturing fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of maturing fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores.
Wolf's milk slime mould (Lycogala epidendrum), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (aethalia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Wolf's milk slime mould (Lycogala epidendrum), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (aethalia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mold (Fuligo septica) plasmodia slime mold on dead wood, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, November . Focus stacked image  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mold (Fuligo septica) plasmodia slime mold on dead wood, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, November . Focus stacked image
Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of two fused fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of two fused fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Arcyria ferrugine), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Arcyria ferrugine), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase, growing on moss. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase, growing on moss. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Badhamia affinis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Badhamia affinis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum album), entering reproductive phase. The young fruiting bodies (sporangia) are begnning to develop, while the plasmodial (feeding) phase is still visible. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum album), entering reproductive phase. The young fruiting bodies (sporangia) are begnning to develop, while the plasmodial (feeding) phase is still visible. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase, growing on edge of beech leaf. Close up of two fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase, growing on edge of beech leaf. Close up of two fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Craterium minutum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of single fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Craterium minutum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of single fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Enteridium lycoperdon), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting body (aethalia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Enteridium lycoperdon), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting body (aethalia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Arcyria cinerea), in reproductive phase. Close-up of young fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK. Sequence 1 of 3.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Arcyria cinerea), in reproductive phase. Close-up of young fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK. Sequence 1 of 3.
Slime mould (Arcyria cinerea), in reproductive phase. Close-up of mature fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK. Sequence 2 of 3.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Arcyria cinerea), in reproductive phase. Close-up of mature fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK. Sequence 2 of 3.
Slime mould (Arcyria cinerea), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK. Sequence 3 of 3.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Arcyria cinerea), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK. Sequence 3 of 3.
Slime mould (Comatricha nigra), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Comatricha nigra), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Comatricha fragilis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Comatricha fragilis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in streaming / plasmodial phase, seeking nutrients on rotting wood. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in streaming / plasmodial phase, seeking nutrients on rotting wood. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Trichia botrytis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Trichia botrytis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Didymium squamulosum), in reproductive phase, with ruler for scale, showing size of less than 1mm.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Didymium squamulosum), in reproductive phase, with ruler for scale, showing size of less than 1mm.
Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase, with coin for scale. The fruiting bodies (sporangia) are developing on a leaf, ready to release their spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in reproductive phase, with coin for scale. The fruiting bodies (sporangia) are developing on a leaf, ready to release their spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in mature reproductive phase, growing on grass. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum leucophaeum), in mature reproductive phase, growing on grass. Close-up of spore-bearing fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in reproductive phase. Close-up of fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in reproductive phase. Close-up of fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupting fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupting fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Arcyria ferruginea), in reproductive phase. Mass of fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
01647391
Andy Sands / Slime mould (Arcyria ferruginea), in reproductive phase. Mass of fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores.
Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupting fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Metatrichia floriformis), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupting fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mold (Fuligo septica)  on dead silver birch log, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, November. Focus stacked image.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mold (Fuligo septica) on dead silver birch log, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, November. Focus stacked image.
Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of developing fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
01647344
Andy Sands / Slime mould (Badhamia utricularis), in reproductive phase. Close-up of developing fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Hemitrichia calyculata), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Hemitrichia calyculata), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores.
Slime mould (Comatricha nigra), in reproductive phase. Close-up of single fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Comatricha nigra), in reproductive phase. Close-up of single fruiting body (sporangium), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa), in reproductive phase. Close-up of massed fruiting bodies (sporangia), each bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Trichia decipiens), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Trichia decipiens), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum album), in reproductive phase. Close-up of developing fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Springtail visible in frame. Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum album), in reproductive phase. Close-up of developing fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. Springtail visible in frame. Buckinghamshire, UK.
Slime mould (Physarum album), in reproductive phase, showing many young fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum album), in reproductive phase, showing many young fruiting bodies (sporangia). Buckinghamshire, UK.
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