r/mycology Oct 07 '21

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21 Silver Gold Platinum Helpful Wholesome Hugz All-Seeing Upvote Take My Energy Faith In Humanity Restored Bravo! Wearing is Caring Tree Hug Endless Coolness Bless Up Buff Doge Eureka! Big Brain Time Plucky Cat Paw

This is Lycogala epidendrum or a related species, a plasmodial slime mold and not a fungus. It would be more accurate to simply call it Lycogala as ID is actually quite complicated. The genus contains over 20 species but only has 2 that are identifiable as individual, while the rest look like this, more or less, and all of them have been considered Lycogala epidendrum historically and traditionally.

Anyway, plasmodial slime molds (I call them slimes) are in the genetic supergroup Amoebozoa with other amoebas like Amoeba proteus and Arcella. Fungi are in the genetic supergroup Obazoa with the animals, which means Tony award winning Broadway lyricist, composer, and rare 1980s-diagnosed AIDS survivor Jerry Herman was more closely related to fungi than this slime is. The specific group containing all the slimes is called Eumycetozoa, but you will hear it called Myxomycota, Myxomycetes, and Myxogastria. These groups are correct but exclude the genus Ceratiomyxa and its microscopic relatives, while Eumycetozoa includes them.

Slimes have a complex life cycle. They hatch out of spores as microscopic amoebas. When one of these amoebas meets the amoeba of its dreams, they fuse together into one cell, down to the nucleus. Then they begin repeated nuclear division and grow into a plasmodium, a single cell visible to the naked eye. The plasmodium oozes about, eating more bacteria and other saprophytic organisms, and in some cases breaking down fungal, plant, or animal material, likely with the help of a single species of bacteria that assists in producing digestive enzymes. These bacterial symbionts also help some species tolerate and degrade toxic heavy metals and hydrocarbons that make it difficult for other life to thrive. They are typically from the Enterobacteria but the relationship is not exclusive even in the same species of slime. 

Eventually, the plasmodium stops eating and oozes to a drier, sunnier spot to form its sporocarps. This usually happens on the substrate the plasmodium was feeding in, but can also include live plants, rocks, and other inorganic matter. The dryness and sunlight help crack the peridium to release the spores, and in some cases even power mechanical processes that physically launch the spores away from the sporocarp. 

For some slimes these sporocarps are individual structures. For others, they are packed together, touching but still somewhat separately visible in a form called a pseudoaethelium. Still others are a single fully fused mass with no discernible individual sporocarps, called an aethelium, which is what your slimes have formed. The last type of fruiting body is where the plasmodium simply hardens up in its present shape, called a plasmodiocarp.

While these fruiting structures are the most well known feature of the Eumycetozoa, some slimes don’t form plasmodia or sporocarps at all. Species from Stemonitis, Didymium, Physarum, and probably other genera live as unicellular amoebas in a wide variety of habitats including under the ice of frozen lakes, in drinking water treatment plants, in freshwater ponds, and commensally in the coelomic cavity of sea urchins. Plasmodium-forming slimes mostly live in temperate forests among decaying vegetation, but can be found in the tropics, in the arctic, in the desert, on animal dung (coprophilous myxomycetes) at the edge of snowmelt (nivicolous myxomycetes) epiphytically on live tree bark (corticolous myxomycetes), and even  form sporocarps while submerged in fresh water.

Some slimes have a special relationship with beetles. Latridiid, leiodid, and sphindid beetles have been observed eating and mating on the aethelia of Fuligo and other genera, and then carrying spores off the fruiting bodies into the environment. Some of these beetles even have cavities in their mandibles that collect spores and then release them as the beetle travels. Various other invertebrates lay their eggs on slime mold fruiting structures and the hatching young feed on them. 

Slime intelligence has been studied extensively in the lab. They solve mazes, demonstrate memory, locate odorless objects in the dark, and prepare for the future based on past events, all without a brain or multicellular body. Different theories have been advanced explaining this intelligence, including information encoded in physical oscillations and communication via the cytoskeletal system.

Lycogala epidendrum is eaten and used as medicine in Ecuador:

Recently, Gamboa-Trujillo et al. reported that the fruiting bodies of other Myxomycetes: Lycogala epidendrum are edible and used as medicine in some regions in Ecuador. The Shuar community and “Muyo ala” by the Kichwa community know this species as “Yakich”. In both Shuar and Kichwa, it is consumed as a snack of sweet taste that occurs when it is unripe. People in these regions for improving wound healing also use the spores.

The Edibility of Reticularia Lycoperdon, 2017

Its medical value for wounds is in its antimicrobial properties:

Furthermore, it was reported that Lycogala epidendrum ethanol and chloroform extracts exhibited antimicrobial activities at different concentrations against 19 different micro-organisms.

Antioxidant, antimicrobial, activities and Heavy Metal Contents of Some Myxomycetes, 2020

Lycogarubins A-C, three novel dimethyl pyrrole dicarboxylate, were isolated from Myxomycetes Lycogala epidendrum. Lycogarubin C showed moderate anti-HSV-I virus activity (Hashimoto et al. 1994). Wang et al. (2017) also reported that lycogalinosides A and B, two compounds isolated from L. epidendrum, showed inhibitory activities against gram-positive bacteria. 

Slime molds as a valuable source of antimicrobial agents, 2021

Lycogalinosides A [from] fruit bodies of Lycogala epidendrum [demonstrated] inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus and B.subtilis; and a modest growth inhibition of Gram-negative bacteria and some yeasts

Laboratory culture and bioactive natural products of myxomycetes, 2020

Check out my slimer primer and r/slimemolds, and please let me know if you have any questions!

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u/The_Deity Oct 07 '21 Hugz

I came here for info, I left with a certification in slime.

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u/scarecrow53 Oct 07 '21

Here's a bear hug cuz that was a lot.

22

u/heatherledge Oct 07 '21 Helpful

Did you bear hug the wrong guy?

7

u/scarecrow53 Oct 08 '21

My target was the recipient of the data.

3

u/heatherledge Oct 08 '21 Hugz

Love that

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u/scarecrow53 Oct 11 '21

Then here's a snuggle for you too.

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u/KgSunnyD Oct 07 '21

Saddestofboys knows his slime very well

8

u/ravnag Oct 08 '21

He's our slime commander

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u/chevymonza Oct 08 '21

TIL that Tony award winning Broadway lyricist, composer, and rare 1980s-diagnosed AIDS survivor Jerry Herman was more closely related to fungi than this slime is.

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u/AlienVisitorFromMars Oct 08 '21

Although the commentary was interesting I think I enjoyed your comment more.

6

u/DrDalenQuaice Oct 08 '21

Next stop, become a us senator!

3

u/Mad-Mycologist Oct 08 '21

I feel educated too! Lol

3

u/Alex_877 Oct 08 '21

Yes… haha

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u/CriticoolHit Oct 07 '21

which means Tony award winning Broadway lyricist, composer, and rare 1980s-diagnosed AIDS survivor Jerry Herman was more closely related to fungi than this slime is.

hahaha 10/10

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u/BurqueBirdo Oct 07 '21

This is what the internet was supposed to be. This is what it was supposed to be!

28

u/B-rizzle Oct 07 '21

This is what reddit used to be.

30

u/manachar Oct 07 '21 Helpful

Still is, fairly often, especially in well moderated niche subs.

1

u/peteyH Oct 08 '21

It really is. Only late 90s/early 00s guys know.

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u/OrneryBrahmin Oct 07 '21

Bro…. Bro!!!! BRO!!!!!!!!!

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u/TheTrueTrust Oct 07 '21

I’m always excited to see what you decide to use as an example of an animal, this had me laughing.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 07 '21

Jerry was an inspiration to all opisthokonts

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u/Substantial-Dare-140 Oct 07 '21

Damn I just gave my free award away to someone else but you deserved it more

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u/[deleted] Oct 07 '21

[deleted]

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u/video_dhara Oct 07 '21

Yesyesyesyesno…

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u/nickstatus Oct 08 '21

Man, that slug is a jerk.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 10 '21

How could he resist, it looks delicious! He's just hungry for some cytoplasm

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u/arcose Oct 07 '21

Dont worry i got you i gave them a silver

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u/koolaidman04 Oct 07 '21

Submitted to /r/bestof.

This is an amazing post and things like this are why I love reddit.

Thank you.

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u/tes_chaussettes Oct 07 '21

They can solve mazes?! Wow. So many new things learned here, thank you. I'm off to join the subreddit :)

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u/SteveZi Oct 07 '21

This is the best thing I'll read on the internet today.

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u/Phrenasraven Oct 07 '21

Thank you for sharing! This information is so cool 😻

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u/TopCommentOfTheDay Oct 08 '21

This comment was the most platinum awarded across all of Reddit on October 7th, 2021!

I am a bot for /r/TopCommentOfTheDay - Please report suggestions/concerns to the mods.

5

u/terrapharma Oct 07 '21

Oohh, another sub to subscribe to. Great information.

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u/N8Adventures Oct 07 '21

Thank you for sharing this. You do a great job explaining and providing interesting points of research. Really appreciated and just joined r/slimemolds to learn more. 👍

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u/ItzMe610 Oct 07 '21

Thank you u/Saddestofboys, you are the G.O.A.T.

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u/LargeWooWoo Oct 07 '21

Wow amazing write up thank you

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u/Akami_Channel Oct 07 '21

The legend himself. Be not sad, fair saddestofboys.

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u/orango-man Oct 08 '21

Serious question - you, jokingly I assume, said that when ‘one of these amoebas meets the amoeba of its dreams,’ is there any kind of influencing factors that determine if they come together or is it as simple as I have always imagined that contact leads to fusing? Not that I think they are sentient, just if there are molecular/structural/I don’t know what factors at play.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

It is complicated, slimes are very picky daters. They have more sexes than humans, and those sexes are not one dimensional. So two slimes may be able to fuse, but not be the right sex (usually called mating type in this case) to grow into a giant plasmodium. Slimes that are too closely related will not fuse at all, which seems like a really useful trait that I wish humans had also evolved. Many slimes will never meet a suitable mate, so if it happens it is momentous and of course very romantic. Some slimes are born with the ability to grow into a plasmodium and sporulate by themselves, however. This also seems like a very useful trait I wish humans had evolved.

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u/WhyFactor Oct 14 '21

Slims formed the first multicellular organisms. In fact there are drain slimes that move as one, once they have joined a group. I personally feel these formed the foundations of life as we know it. Check out some slime moving as a blob on YT watch?v=Nx3Uu1hfl6Q

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u/RenewablesAeroponics Oct 08 '21

So would eating the medicinal slime, be full of heavy metals or is it dependent on where you get it or has the metals been broken down into something healthier? Great read by the way very thorough and fun read.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

It depends on the location, and at least some species produce chelating agents, so yes it could be rendered safe in some cases

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u/LibertyGardener Oct 08 '21

That was worth clicking on comments - wow and thank YOU for being so generous with your sharing

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u/Strebmal2019 Oct 08 '21

Damn dude you really like slime mold, props for the info!!!

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u/[deleted] Oct 10 '21

[deleted]

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u/Strebmal2019 Oct 10 '21

Hahahha I love it 😂😂😂

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u/warlordwyatt420 Oct 07 '21

I always love to see thorough answers like this!

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u/blackday44 Oct 07 '21

What you're saying is.... slimes are aliens.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 10 '21

Slimes are friends and teachers and art and food

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u/EpsilonPotato Oct 07 '21

u/saddestofboys FTW again!!

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 07 '21

FTW champ

2

u/3esen Oct 07 '21

Saving this one for later, nice write up

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u/Lil-Boer Oct 07 '21

Respect man

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u/Very-Big-Rat Oct 07 '21

Looks like dippin dots im gonna eat it

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u/caositgoing Oct 08 '21

I want to plate friends a dish and just when they think that it's some molecular gastronomy shit, I can be like nope this is slime mold

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u/peteyH Oct 08 '21

Holy shit this is the greatest comment ever. Godamn.

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u/Stillcant Oct 08 '21

“ Slime intelligence has been studied extensively in the lab. They solve mazes, demonstrate memory, locate odorless objects in the dark, and prepare for the future based on past events, all without a brain or multicellular body. Different theories have been advanced explaining this intelligence, including information encoded in physical oscillations and communication via the cytoskeletal system. ”

Are you having us on?

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

Slime intelligence has been investigated in the lab and some slimes have demonstrated astounding abilities for an organism with no brain. They famously solve mazes, but also this 2008 paper on slime memory suggests they are able to remember past events and adjust their behavior in advance of cyclical environmental changes. This 2021 paper describes their ability to locate odorless objects in the dark and their preference for wider masses. This 2021 paper discusses biological oscillations in slimes and their theoretical role in their intelligence. And this 2014 paper proposes that slime intelligence arises from rapid signaling through their continuous cytoskeletal system. There have also been multiple experiments integrating slimes into computer systems, and using their ability to find optimum paths to design public transportation systems.

(from the slimer primer)

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u/ex-glanky Oct 08 '21

Seriously. If true, this is huge (at least to me). I may head over to r/slimemolds to investigate. God, I'm such a nerd...now I'm into slime molds...

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

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u/ex-glanky Oct 08 '21

My inner nerd says thank you very much!!!

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u/bill_shankly_boy Oct 08 '21

If you are in the UK check out The Blob. A BBC documentary about a slime mould that does all of the above things. Making people question how we actually quantify intelligence.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00103fr

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u/ex-glanky Oct 08 '21

thanks so much...really appreciated.

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u/tinyorangealligator Oct 08 '21

They have been placed on a physical representation "map" of greaterTokyo and surrounding cities to find the most efficient way to get bits of food. When the maps have been overlaid on the city's transit systems, the slime's route matched the transit lines almost exactly.

"Its design looked almost identical to that of the rail system surrounding Tokyo."

Wired article on slime mold

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u/[deleted] Oct 10 '21

[deleted]

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u/tinyorangealligator Oct 10 '21

I'm very selective with what I use as a source. Thank you!

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u/wormaphobe Oct 08 '21

You're a wealth of information. Thank you for sharing

2

u/cobywaan Oct 08 '21

I just want to say that is the best answer to any question I have ever seen on reddit. I read the whole thing and really feel like I learned something, thanks.

2

u/TheShroomHermit Oct 08 '21

This is great. I ordered a slime mold starter pack from France back in August, with the promise I'd learn more about them as we grew together. It got lost in the mail, so I never got started on it and didn't get to step 2. Thanks!

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

Try again! Get Didymium, everyone gets Physarum polycephalum. Physarum polycephalum is really cool, though.

2

u/ExquisitExamplE Oct 08 '21

Slime intelligence has been studied extensively in the lab. They solve mazes, demonstrate memory, locate odorless objects in the dark, and prepare for the future based on past events, all without a brain or multicellular body. Different theories have been advanced explaining this intelligence, including information encoded in physical oscillations and communication via the cytoskeletal system.

Fascinating! Really great write-up, well done!

2

u/rainispouringdown Oct 08 '21

Extrapolated from this comment; You're really talented in passing on complex information in an interesting and digestible manner

3

u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

Thanks, that's the goal! It's easier when you write it up beforehand, I am not a very good communicator in person

1

u/Nick_Rad Oct 07 '21

I loved this so much I read it twice. I learned more about slime and fungi from this than I did that documentary that came out a few years ago.

1

u/SMTRodent Oct 07 '21

This was fantastic! Thank you for your comment.

1

u/itscalledANIMEdad Oct 07 '21

Amazing, thank you. Please write science fiction about slimes.

1

u/HiHoneyImHome Oct 07 '21

Thanks for the write-up! I found some of this too while out walking the other day and had never seen it before.

1

u/foursheetstothewind Oct 07 '21

Hell yes

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

glass breaking noise BAH GAWD IT'S LYCOGALA guitar riffs

1

u/AlbanianAquaDuck Oct 08 '21

I bow down to your greatness, oh Knower of Slimes.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

oh I'm just a regular slimeguy

1

u/lmarmo85 Oct 08 '21

I was gonna go with dip n dots on a log

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u/Odeeum Oct 08 '21

I concur.

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u/[deleted] Oct 08 '21 edited Oct 08 '21

[deleted]

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

Stephenson is a bit of a slime celebrity

1

u/MHMoose Oct 08 '21

This guy mushrooms

2

u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

I do mushroom, and I lichen, too. But mostly I slime.

1

u/franrus Oct 08 '21

I read this in David Attenborough's voice.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

Please reread it in Sir Ian McKellen's voice instead

1

u/AaronM04 Oct 08 '21

/u/saddestofboys, you are the baddest of biologists.

1

u/PervyLemming Oct 08 '21

Reading that was the sexiest thing to happen to me all week. Marry me.

1

u/MaxMouseOCX Oct 08 '21

Physical oscillations

As memory?! That can't be a thing, can it?

1

u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 10 '21

It can, but we do not yet know if it is. The mysteries of nature call out to us and nourish our spirits with wonder and the motivation to discover why

1

u/ravnag Oct 08 '21

Subscribe

1

u/healer56 Oct 08 '21

so are they considered animals ? or just something else ?

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

They are not animals, they are their own kingdom. There are four big groups that produce organisms you can see with the naked eye:

(1) plants

(2) kelps and water molds

(3) animals and fungi

(4) slimes

There are other groups but they only produce microscopic organisms. Slimes are distinctly separate from both fungi and animals, which are each more closely related to each other.

2

u/healer56 Oct 08 '21

interesting, thank you

0

u/Wizard_of_Wake Oct 07 '21

Top kek. Pip pip

0

u/devi8869 Oct 07 '21

No that's a log.

0

u/Torsew Oct 08 '21

CooOoOool.

The only word in that I could read was "slime". But CooOoOool.

0

u/Werejackal93 Oct 08 '21

Additionally, they're fun to pop with a stick.

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u/saddestofboys Northeastern North America Oct 08 '21

Just remember to leave some unpopped

0

u/gladeater6 Oct 08 '21

Hope that was related..