Hint: Myxomycetes are known commonly as slime molds. They are visible on decaying matter. They have characteristics of more than one phyla. They also have motility for obtaining nutrition. They are easily distinguished due to these traits from other organisms.
Myxomycetes are a phylum of fungus-like organisms also known as slime molds, more specifically, plasmodial or acellular slime molds.
- They exhibit characteristics of both fungi and protists, and are included in the kingdom Protista.
- They have a slimy covering which is a multinucleate protoplasm known as the plasmodium. It absorbs nutrients through phagocytosis. The nutrients include bacteria, protists, dissolved substances, moulds, higher fungi, and small particles of organic material. It is a part of the vegetative phase.
- The plasmodium gives rise to fruiting structures known as sporangia with one or many spores at the head of a stalk. Most species bear spores within the sporangium.
- Myxomycetes are most commonly found in decaying plants.
- A resting state, the ‘sclerotium’, may occur in the vegetative phase. It is a hardened, resistant form composed of numerous "macrocysts", which enable the myxomycetes to survive in adverse conditions, for example during winter or dry periods.
- Mature plasmodia also produce fruiting bodies under some circumstances.
So, the correct answer is option (b) ‘Slimy mass of multinucleate protoplasm having pseudopodia-like structures for engulfing food, reproduction through fragmentation or zoospores’.
Note: Myxomycetes are also known as myxogastria, myxogastrids, and mycetozoa.
- Myxomycota is derived from the Ancient Greek words myxa, which means "mucus", and mykes, which means "fungus".