Pond Sample Discovery

Recently, while in Hanmer, New Zealand, I took a water sample from the pond is Chisholm Park. After a bit of peering through my foldscope, I discovered this micoorganism that I at first thought was algae, the same as the surrounding plant matter. I then saw it move forward in a smooth, sliding fashion, leading me to give it the nickname ‘Slider’.

I then saw a video online someone had taken of a microrganism named a stentor coeruleus, which looks very similar to what I have found, leading me to believe that my specimen is indeed a stentor. Stentors are ciliates, belonging to the kingdom protista (a group made up of single-celled, eukaryotic cells) that are characterised by the presence of cilia – hair-like organelles that grant the individual motility, as well as having other uses. In the video below, you can see a region of what looks to be these at the front left of the organism, whipping about in rapid fashion .

Further curious, I placed my foldscope in dark-field mode, which served to successfully reveal further details. Not only could I now see the green matter in amongst the cytoplasm of the stentor, but I found it easier to see the number of cilia present at the ‘head’ of the organism. Notice also at the start of the video below the diatom being tossed about by the currents created by the motion of the cilia.

Asides from organelles, I wonder if the matter making up the cytoplasm of the cell also comes from the surrounding algae, which has been ingested by the protist.

As usual, if anyone can offer further insight into what this organism is (to clear up if I am accurate to call this a stentor) please leave a comment. I am also curious as to the nature of all matter and shapes that make up the cytoplasm of the cell.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Tigercat,

    What a beautiful set of observations – I specially love how clear the cilia at the “oral groove” are – they are the ring like cilia structure that bring food particles. And as you can see, the little particles are attracted to the organism.

    From everything I can see, this is indeed a species of Stentor – and one which has a symbiotic relationship with another algae. Can you share more where you collected it in New Zealand – possibly a picture of the macro environment. Also, I will ping some folks in foldscope community that work on stentors to try to ID the exact species.

    What a beautiful catch – fantastic job!

    cheers
    manu

    1. Tigercat says:

      I’m sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the pond. Some good photos come up for the location on google maps, but I’m hesitant to upload those in case I breach a copyright.

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