Marine ciliate that teleports (jumps) from Hopkins Marine station

Yesterday, scraping from the bottom of the sea water table, I found these mysterious jumping ciliates? I’m calling them ciliates since Manu has found some in the past..

Here’s a first video of 2 of them in sync with gif.

Marine Ciliates in sync teleporting

It was so beautiful to watch them go. If someone can ID them (@laks, @manup) that would be awesome. I’ll add more videos below to give you a better view.

This video really shows some crazy jumps they make to go out of field of view..

In this video, i mounted them on a compound microscope (10X) to get a better view. Fyi, i recorded the video using my iPhone connected by a tool i ordered off amazon called snap zoom. If you have scope and wanted to attach your phone to it to take for e.g. high-speed videos, i recommend it. Of course, the foldscope is sufficient, but i was curious to compare 🙂

In the video below I noticed something peculiar – it appears as if the ciliate is laying eggs? Can someone confirm? Im not sure how ciliates reproduce..

I also captured some high-speed videos at 240 frames per second. It gives a good sense of how they exploit the ciliary motion to jump.


And here’s just another video of it swimming about.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    @saad: fantastic find. One possibility is that this might be mesodinium. I will look more closely at the videos tonight.

    Try to isolate and culture them (put them in an oxygenated sea water).


  2. laksiyer says:

    @Saad, what a catch, this is a beauty. At the first level this is an oligotrich ciliate (which is what you arrived at correctly). I think this is a Strombidium species. The red spot has kept me awake for sometime. What might it be
    1. It could be a red alga endosymbiont.
    2. It could be an example of kleptoparasitism where the ciliate has stolen the alga and will keep it for sometime.
    3. Those circular things that it ejected might be extrusomes that are released by ciliates to protect themselves. I

    1. Saad Bhamla says:

      Awesome awesome. Thanks for the comments and IDs. The red spot is indeed a mysterious one.


  3. laksiyer says:

    This type of motion is generally called saltation. You can also see it in Rotifers, and Halteria. Looking forward to more posts. This is a great adventure you are having.

  4. Manu Prakash says:

    @Laks: just noticed your profile image has some trichomes.. i am excited. cant wait for the post 🙂


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