Every now and then, we notice the smaller creatures of the forest that often escapes our eyes. Then we start to wonder: who are they? , What do they feed on, and what roles do they play in our forest?
At first sight, the white growth on this dead log looks like tiny corals. But since we know that corals are not terrestrial, maybe they are some form of fungi instead? Nope. Turns out, they are white lime slime mould (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa), a type of protist that’s neither animal, nor plant, nor fungi They are similar to fungi in many ways though. For example, the white lime slime mould develops clusters of stalks that bear spores on the surfaces, much alike the fungal fruiting bodies in our familiar mushrooms. The white lime slime mould also aids in the decomposition cycle in the forest!
Now this little guy here is the fungus beetle and they also have a role to play in the decomposition cycle. Most fungus beetle species feed on fungi and decaying matter. They are brightly coloured with yellow, red or orange markings. Such bold colours are often used to discourage predators from feeding on them. These colours can be found on the fungus beetles since their larva stages!
Decomposition is an important process in the forest as they help to return nutrients to the soil, making way for new growth to take place. Especially in the tropical rainforest where there are large amounts of leaf litter, these tiny decomposers play a much bigger role than their size suggests.
Same goes for us. The little actions and decisions that we make every day in our lives can also have a much bigger impact on the environment than we think!
That’s the end of this month’s walk update and blog post, but there’ll be many more walks coming up in the months ahead! Check out more photos of creatures that we encountered during the April walk on our Facebook page, and don’t forget to sign up for our next walk!