(slime moulds) A class of the *Myxomycota
containing funguslike organisms that consist of a naked mass of protoplasm termed a Plasmodium. They number about 500 species divided among some 70 genera and are usually found growing on decaying vegetation. The various forms encountered in the life cycle (see swarm cell
) show certain animal-like characteristics, notably the ingestion of solid particles of food, and this has led some authorities to place them in the animal kingdom as Mycetozoa.
In some classifications the Myxomycetes contains the orders Acrasiales and Plasmodiophorales but these are now usually elevated to class status as the *Acrasiomycetes