The Mycetozoa or Myxomycetes are a saprophytic group without chlorophyll, of simple structure and isolated position.
In nonflowering plants the works usually followed are for ferns, Hooker and Baker's Synopsis filicum; for mosses, Muller's Synopsis muscorum frondosorum, Jaeger & Sauerbeck's Genera et species muscorum, and Engler & Prantl's Pflanzenfamilien; for algae, de Toni's Sylloge algarum; for hepaticae, Gottsche, Lindenberg and Nees ab Esenbeck's Synopsis hepaticarum, supplemented by Stephani's Species hepaticarum; for fungi, Saccardo's Sylloge fungorum, and for mycetozoa Lister's monograph of the group. For the members of large genera, e.g.
Those fungi which are of a dusty nature, and the Myxomycetes or Mycetozoa may, like the lichens, be preserved in small boxes and arranged in drawers.
It was formerly the custom to include with the Fungi the Schizomycetes or Bacteria, and the Myxomycetes or Mycetozoa; but the peculiar mode of growth and division, the cilia, spores and other peculiarities of the former, and the emission of naked amoeboid masses of protoplasm, which creep and fuse to streaming plasmodia, with special modes of nutrition and spore-formation of the latter, have led to their separation as groups of organisms independent of the true Fungi.
It has been accepted for some time now that the majority of the fungi proper fall into three main groups, the Phycomycetes, Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes, the Schizomycetes and Myxomycetes (Mycetozoa) being considered as independent groups not coming under the true fungi.
The term Eumycetes is sometimes applied to this group to distinguish them from the Phycomycetes, but as the same name is also applied to the fungi as a whole to differentiate them from the Mycetozoa and Bacteria, the term had best be dropped.
Thaxter's observations and conclusions were called in question by some botanists, but his later observations and those of Baur have established firmly the position of the group. The peculiarity of the group lies in the fact that the bacteria form plasmodiumlike aggregations ' and build themselves up into sporogenous structures of definite form superficially similar to the cysts of the Mycetozoa (fig.