Useless information #25 – A species with more than two sexes!

Meet Physarum polycephalum, a slim mold with more than two sexes!

What are you saying, rmach?!

Take it easy! I’m not making this up!
First I found a study from 1992 (THIS ONE) stating that this species has…

at least 13 sexes!

Obviously I researched a little more and found more recent sources (for example THIS ONE) that increase this number by… a lot!

First things first. Give me details!

Usually the reproductive cells from males and females are very distinct. For starters they have pretty different sizes. That is not true in Physarum polycephalum. Their basic cell structure is intriguing. In fact all we see is a cell containing the cytoplasm and multiple nuclei within it. Their sex cells, developed from spores, are the same size and the sex is determined by the possible combinations of the 8 types of cells a mature individual can produce. This results in…

more than 500 potential different sexes!

From our point of view this could be a big mess!
From the slime mold point of view I believe it can be fun!

See you tomorrow for more “Useless information”

3 columns
2 columns
1 column