Dictydium cancellatum Chinese Lantern
In this slime mould there is a spherical, sporangial head. The spore mass is contained within this spherical chamber. There is no regular capillitium to support and help disperse the spores as in Trichia. Instead there are thickenings or 'ribs' in the wall of the peridium. The membranous wall material between the ribs disappears and the result is a 'Bird Cage' or 'Chinese Lantern'. The head droops at the end of the support stalk and nods with every passing breeze. The spores then drop out between the ribs for dispersal. At a higher magnification (click here) you can see that the distance between the ribs is maintained by delicate cross struts. Remember, the entire fruitbody is only a few millimetres tall. Such intricate detail in such a small structure is remarkable! You can also see that there is lots of room for the tiny spherical spores to drop through between the ribs.