The Thing from Under the Baseboard.
November 14, 2011 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any idea what the hell this is? I found it growing in my apartment.

The apartment I live in was apparently constructed out of the cheapest materials on earth and now has extensive water damage. The once brand new floors it had now look like they belong in a fun-house and more and more we're finding patches of mold growing along the baseboards. Recently we found whatever the hell this is growing out from under one of the baseboards and spreading itself out onto the floor. Soon after these pics were taken one of my cats must have smacked it because it was busted open and looked like it was filled with black ash. I destroyed the rest of it with about half a bottle of Tilex. Anyone have any idea what kid of mold or fungus it was?
posted by Nyarlathotep to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Slime mold!

What's his name?
posted by cmoj at 9:40 AM on November 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

Yeah, seconding slime mold. Cool! Ew!
posted by Specklet at 9:46 AM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Looks like slime mold to me, too. Fascinating stuff. From Wikipedia:

Slime molds show interesting behavior. When a slime mold mass or mound is physically separated, the cells find their way back to re-unite. Studies on Physarum have even shown an ability to learn and predict periodic unfavorable conditions in laboratory experiments (Saigusa et al 2008)[8] [9] Professor John Tyler Bonner, who has spent a lifetime studying slime molds argues that Slime molds are "no more than a bag of amoebae encased in a thin slime sheath, yet they manage to have various behaviors that are equal to those of animals who possess muscles and nerves with ganglia -- that is, simple brains.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:46 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The "black ash" leads me to believe it was some form of puffball mushroom. They do the exact same thing when they're trampled.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:47 AM on November 14, 2011

Nah, julthumbscrew, old Fuligo septica (dog's vomit slime mold) do that, too - along with many other mushrooms & molds. It has no other similarities that I can see with puffballs.

It looks strikingly like F. septica. That's my guess. Harmless enough, AFAIK, although the spores aren't good for anyone to breathe of course, and may aggravate allergies.

Being neither animal nor plant (nor fungus, for that matter), they can be somewhat resilient to ordinary poisons. However, resilient != impervious. If possible, open up that wall section - you've likely got a moisture problem in there - and spray with something that ends in "icide"... Lysol, even.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:56 AM on November 14, 2011

Oops: links.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:57 AM on November 14, 2011

Thanks everyone.

I knew I should have come here sooner.

Yeah, though "moisture problem" is a huge understatement. When it rains you can hear the water sloshing under the floorboards.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 10:04 AM on November 14, 2011

When it rains you can hear the water sloshing under the floorboards.

Christ, man, you've probably got black mold in there, too. I'd move ASAP.
posted by asnider at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2011 [9 favorites]

I know this isn't answering your question, but asnider is right: you don't want to be living there. Mold inhalation is not something to mess around with.
posted by Specklet at 12:13 PM on November 14, 2011

I wouldn't live there. Not even if the landlord promised to "fix everything." (How would they do that?) Move!
posted by exphysicist345 at 12:29 PM on November 14, 2011

Way ahead of you.

Just signed the lease on a new place this past Saturday that's far far away from this moldy dump.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 4:01 PM on November 14, 2011

Whew! And congrats!
posted by Specklet at 4:19 PM on November 14, 2011

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