Unknown giant ciliate with colored “vacuole” bodies 

In the same location as last week (Duck pond swamps); Scott, Guillermina and TA’s from Bio60 uncovered a treasure trove of microcorganisms. Here I will list what I have images so far; in a serial fashion. 

First up is this beautiful giant ciliate. Over several hours of imaging; it had slowed down its swimming speed to an extent that I could track it. The big thing I was fascinated by was the vacuoles; some of them dramatically colored. It’s ciliary rows are clearly visible, and so are the cilia. I am also able to see the oral grove. Also; the organism is quiet flexible and at times dramatically deforms as it pushes on dirt. 

For tracking a moving ciliate, I often keep the phone on the edge of a table and move the foldscope slide using the far two ends of the foldscope. With this technique; I can stably track micro swimmers for minutes/hours. 

If you can help identify this ciliate; please leave comments here with suggestions and places for me to start. 



4 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    This is brlliant. I am thinking either Glaucoma or Colpidium, but not sure.

  2. laksiyer says:

    I was discussing this remarkable ciliate with Aravind and after some searching we arrived at Prorodon as the best match. @Manu what do you think? In addition to vacuoles there seem to be trapped alga in the ciliate. Here is another Prorodon video.

  3. Manu Prakash says:

    @Laks: that is indeed a very good conclusion. I have been skimming through catalogs; but did not think of Prorodon. I am just thrilled and fascinated with the trapped “algae” hypothesis that you and @Arvid. Came up with; that had been a real puzzle that how come some vacuoles are pigmented and others are not. Now I want to get this one in the act of catching algae.

    Will upload some explosive biodiversity videos shortly – get your pencils sharpened; I have a lot of data coming 🙂


  4. Janice says:

    Hi to all ciliate observers:

    Here’s a publication on cilliates and symbioses:


    Worth a look at.


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