There are a great many different types of mold. We know of approximately 100,000 species of mold. And there’s about 150 different types of house mold, each of which can have several subtypes.
How to identify what type of mold is in your home
Scientist spend many years learning to identify the many different types of molds first by genus or group and then by individual mold or what scientists call species. For instance, for a mold like Aspergillus fumigatus, the first name is a group name (genus) and the second name is individual or specific (species) name. To identify a mold to individual level requires detailed studies of the mold by an expert.
Unfortunately, you can’t identify the type of mold in your home with a photograph or with the naked eye since most molds look very similar. Even an expert mycologist may not identify mold just by their look on drywalls.
The only way to tell for sure what type of mold you’re dealing with is to send a sample for testing to a qualified mold laboratory. Remember!. It’s the types of mold and the amounts that you inhale that matters. Consider testing air in your home. For instructions on how to test air click How To Sample Air For Total Fungal Spore Counts.
Let me illustrate. The top picture is a basement with black mold as you could seen it on the wall. All we see from this picture is black mold.
The bottom two examples are photos of mold pictures as seen under a microscope magnified 600 times. Under the microscope, we can differentiate 2 different types of mold. These are Stachybotrys and Cladosporium. Notice how different they look under the microscope. They are vastly different molds, even though they look nearly identical to the naked eye when seen on the wall.
If you have mold in your house, you may want to send mold samples to find out from an expert what type it is. Why care to know the type of mold? You, may ask. Not all molds are harmful and for your peace of mind, you may want to know if you were ever exposed to toxigenic molds.