Coenocytic Mold Growing on Fish Food

A coenocyte is a multinucleate cell (cell with more than one nucleus) that achieved multinuclearity through multiple division of a starter nucleus, as apposed to a syncytium, a multinucleate cell composed of cytoplasmically fused individual cells (such as in slime molds, which are not fungi). The hyphae of this mold were aseptate as well, meaning that the individual cells and nuclei were not seperated by the chitinous cell wall of the fungus.

I found this mold growing on a piece of fish food floating in a small pond. Coiled and wriggling among the fungal hyphae were countless worms, such as large nematodes and the spined worms most recently mentioned.

Above: In order for fungal hyphae to continue growth into a medium, it must have a constant supply of energy for cell wall extentions and creation of new cells. In order to achieve this, the mitochondria (energy-producing cellular units) are typically positioned toward the leading end of the hypha. You may notice that in the photo above, the end of the hypha is very granular; because of the concentrated mitochondria. Compare it with the photograph below…

Above: This photo was taken form the same hypha, but further down. You can see already that the cells are considerably less granulated.

Above: At the very tip of the hypha, you might see a slight bulge in the cell. This, as you may have guessed, is an outgrowth of the hypha; a formation of a new cell.