Check out these stunningly surreal close-up photographs of slime molds

UK-based photographer Barry Webb recently published a collection of slime mold images that capture the strange organisms at various stages of their mindboggling lives — and wow, they're pretty incredible. As he explains in his artist statement:

I discovered my first Slime Mould in October 2019. Neither fungi nor plant, it's a Myxomycetes. These organisms go through different stages. At one stage in their life cycle they are single cell amoebae. Most of my images show them as fruiting bodies which are the spore bearing stage. They are extremely small, averaging 1-4mm. This is probably the reason I had never noticed them before, during many years of photographing fungi.

Here are a few selections from his Instagram page, but you should really click through to view the full collection. If nothing else, it's given me a new appreciation for the horrifying beauty of Area X from Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy (aka Annihilation and its sequels which are really all just one big story about a sort-of Myxomycetes-esque extraterrestrial invasion, maybe).

Slime Moulds (Myxomycetes) [Barry Webb]