Gizûli - Fhormicetó
A fhormicetó, or - as the Messellat Mdûlûn call it - Gizûli, is a peculiar slime mould native to the coastal areas east of the Grey sea. It employs an interesting mode of protecting itself by some form of mimicry, that is otherwise often seen in plants. For a slime mould, the Gizûli is exceptionally fast, moving at speeds of up to two metres per hour. It is not a very common species and can be harvested for alchemical recipes.
Appearance and behaviour
The Gizûli normally lives in the soil, where it forms a slimy, foamy capsule around itself to stay hydrated. From there, thin stretches of tissue are sent up every once in a while, with the very top sticking out of the ground and metamorphosing the topmost cells to olfactory sensor cells to check if there's food close by. The colony can also decide to get moving, should it get hungry and actively search for a food source. If it does so, it preferably stays underground, taking advantage of small tunnels and ducts burrowed by insects, worms or sometimes even rodent tunnels. The only animals it stays clear off are moles and hedgehogs, as those seem to especially like the taste of the Gizûli.
Food sources for Gizûli are always rich in protein, so carcasses, clutches of non-brooding animals like lizards or salamanders or mushrooms attract them. They are also seen close to garbage disposals, but are usually removed or harvested from there, due to their unwanted behaviour.
When being dormant, the colony is covered in the aforementioned off-whitish bubbly slime. On their migrations, the colonies appear milky yellowish, greyish, like slightly yellow milk darkened with soot. The third shape they can take, which has actually become their namesake, is the feeding-shape: They employ a similar mode to protect not only itself, but also their food sources, as plants with patterned leaves. Plants trick insects by having dots on their leaves or stems into thinking that other insects have already laid eggs there, so they wander off to another plant to lay their own. The Gizûli (gi isfor ant, sûli is for mould) or fhormiceto (fhormiga is Tarrabaenian for ant, cetó means any kind of organic life form that is moist or slimy, like bacterial colonies or mould) stretches over the food, forming a thin layer. It then forms an irregular surface. The lower part of the colony are busy eating away the food source, while the upper parts form into fruiting bodies in the shape of elongated jetblack spots. Because of the irregular surface pattern, other animals coming close are tricked by an optical illusion and think there are ants swarming the food source and thus staying clear of it.
Cultural role and use
The Tarrabaenians as well as the Mdûlûn don't like to have Gizûli or fhormicetó around, as their behaviour leads to other scavengers avoiding rotting food or carcasses. With other life forms being able to get rid of those smelly and disgusting sorts of trash, they prefer those dragging the carcass off or real ants disassembling food waste over the sluggish slime molds.
The only use the Gizûli has is, that the Tarrabaenians use it for alchemical recipies. A collection of uses for fhormicetó can be found in the alchemical or medicinal guide book Opés Ecinánié (Means to ease excretion/defecation/micturition).