7 results for ciliate

Dec 22

Hairy kneecap

Euplotes patella [CC-BY-SA-4.0 Yikai Feng]

Our microscopy practical always turns up something new, which is the main reason I enjoy it. This year it was a ciliate called Euplotes patella. This kneecap-shaped critter is a single-celled organism masquerading as a tiny animal. The appendages that look like long hairs or legs are bundles of extra-long cilia called cirri, which it …

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Jan 06


Euchlanis rotifer [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Most years the pond-water microscopy practical throws up an exciting ciliate (or two, or three), but this year, the only ones we saw were duplicates, or too bloody fast to photograph. Ho hum. So this year you’ll have to make do with an imposter. It’s still got cilia, but it is not a ciliate, and although it’s no bigger …

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Oct 06

Organism of the week #29 – Galling

Vasates quadripedes on Acer saccharinum [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Today is the first day of the new (academic) year at $WORK, but – aside from a couple of intro lectures – this is the calm before the real storm, which arrives in the form of a deluge of biological chemistry in November. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a few mugshots of some weird ciliate or other around …

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Aug 17

Organism of the week #25 – Bull headed

Bucephalus minimus [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

This is another of the things we have found down a microscope in one of our undergraduate practicals, but for once it’s not a ciliate. This is the larva of a parasitic fluke called Bucephalus, which is the Greek for ‘bull headed’. It’s appropriate for this fluke not because it looks like Alexander the Great’s horse, but because …

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Dec 16


Stentor sp. [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

We had the annual “looking at muck down a microscope” practical last week. As usual, the best thing we saw was a ciliate in some pond water, in this case a little trumpet animalcule: Previous winners: Vorticella and Lacrymaria. The Ciliata really are the phylum that keeps on giving.

Oct 16

Teardrops of the swan

Lacrymaria olor [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Last year, the most marvellous thing we saw in the pond-water microscopy practical was a ciliate, and this year the prize goes to that same clade. Ciliates don’t disappoint. This is Lacrymaria olor, the “teardrop of the swan”. It’s a predator, like the Vorticella from last year, but rather than sitting rooted to the spot, Lacrymaria is …

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Oct 17


Vorticella micrograph [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It’s nice to find out that – old and jaded as I am – biology can still delight me. Earlier this week, I covered a first-year practical teaching microscopy skills to first-years, through the medium of pond water. As well as the usual desmids, rotifers, Daphnia and nematodes, one lucky student found a little clump …

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