Well I had any number of “useful” suggestions as to what the heck is growing on my lawn including: star jelly, my growing clone (on my front lawn??) and to “dry it, smoke it and if nothing happens send an email to MAf biosecurity”.
I decided to take up the last suggestion (the emailing part, not the drying and smoking part) and I received this slightly comforting reply:
Yes it is a type of fungus called a slime mould. It will disappear in a few days. They grow in very moist conditions. They are not harmful and not uncommon.<br />
Regards Olwyn Green<br />
Entomology Lab.<br />
MAF Biosecurity NZ
Not sure why the Entomology lab has anything to do with fungus but hey I now know what the blobs are.
Turns out slime molds are rather interesting things:
They are a biological and taxonomic enigma because they are neither typical fungi nor typical protozoa. During one of their growth stages, they are protozoa-like because they lack cell walls, have amoeboid movement (WTF?), and ingest particulate nutrients. During their propagative stage they form fruiting bodies and sporangia, which bear walled spores like typical fungi.
There are over 500 species and they appear in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes. To be honest I didn’t see any pictures that looked like my slime, the closest that I found was the aptly named Dog Vomit slime mould. Maybe I should give my mould a name, something like pocus stickus blobus.
What was rather disturbing were the number of odd experiments that people have used slime mould in, such as Slime mould solves maze and Robot piloted by a slime mould, which appear to take advantage of the amoeboid nature of the mould.
I for one, welcome our slime mould overlords…
Update: A gardening-type acquaintance of a friend of mine suggested that I throw lime (calcium carbonate) on the blobs to kill em. I might just give that a go.