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Identifying ciliates

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Identifying ciliates

Postby pdavis68 » Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:54 pm

I came across the idea for this from some web site. Basically, I took some tap water, let it sit for 24 hours (so the chlorine would evaporate), then added a bunch of dead grass to it and let it sit.

Slowly, all sorts of stuff starts appearing. Most of the things have been ciliates, but I've had trouble identifying a lot of them. I think the long thin ones are paramecium. Even saw a few at the last 5 mins or so of division which was very cool.

One of the coolest I saw was one I can't identify. I don't think it showed up until after about a week and the water was pretty scummy. It barely moved, but it had cilia. It seemed to latch onto stuff from one end and eat from the other. There was a contractile vacuole (opposite end from where it was attached) and at the same end as the contractile vacuole, it had some sort of tube like structure at the end that appeared to act as an anus. You could watch particles come in the contractile vacuole, circulate around the body, and then get expelled. Since it hardly moved, you could watch the whole cycle.

Another cool thing was it would blow up into a ball when it was disturbed (and sometimes for no apparent reason). It would do this really fast, like a puffer fish.

Anyone have any idea what this is?

Pete
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Postby Poison » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:08 pm

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Postby pdavis68 » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:31 pm

Thanks, but those are all taken from Wikipedia and I already went through them all. Unfortunately, without photos or drawings, it's kind of hard to tell which one it is. There are a few that it might be, but I can't really be sure without pictures.
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Postby Poison » Sat Apr 22, 2006 7:54 pm

I examined protozoa culture at the lab but couldn't understand from your description. maybe you can find it again and take a photo of it if your culture still exists.

These can help maybe:
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Postby pdavis68 » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:05 pm

Unfortunately, I don't have an adapter for my camera yet, but I'm going to work on that. Thanks for the excellent pictures. Actually, it looked very much like the Rotifera photo.

Assuming it's a type of Rotifera, the right side (with the pointed tail-like piece), was anchored to a piece of algae or something. The left side appeared to have both mouth and anus, however the diagrams I've just looked at of Rotifera appear to have the anus on the tail end. It's hard to be sure. It simply looked like waste was being disposed from the head-end.

Unfortunately, I don't have any right now. I'm about 5 days into a new batch of scummy water, so hopefully they'll show up in the next couple of days.

But really, it does look a lot like some kind of rotifera. The drawing I have is very close. Both the shape and the fact that it has the cillia coming out of the mouth.

It appears that most rotifers can survive dehydration, so I gues that's a test I can apply. This one, however, doesn't appear to have a hard shell, so I'm not sure it would survive dehydration. We'll see.

I also haven't found one that can spasm into a golf-ball shape like the ones I saw, but there appear to be a number of types. I guess once I have them, my first experiment will be to dehydrate and the rehydrate and see if they come back. That would be pretty compelling evidence.

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Postby Ken Ramos » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:10 am

Could this be what you were observing?
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Postby pdavis68 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:19 pm

The ones I was seeing are much closer to the Rotifer in the previous post. It's got the fatter, shorter body and the mouth isn't as trumpeted was the one you posted.

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Postby Poison » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:39 pm

There are different Rotifera species, there can be many differences between them.
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Postby pdavis68 » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:38 pm

Poison, I'm aware of this. I was simply pointing out that, shape-wise, the picture you supplied is closer to what I'm seeing than the picture Ken had.

I had to do a 3rd batch of grass water but I started seeing them again yesterday. They're very cool to watch. They have very long tails which stay anchored and the cilia in the mouth appear to be drawing material towards the mouth. They occasionally spasm into a ball (kind of like a golf ball on a string). It's amazing the speed at which it happens. It looks instantaneous. One second they're normal and then bang!, they're a ball

Anyway, I was really just happy to narrow it down to a phylum. I can't figure out if they're bdelloid or monogononta, but that's okay for now. I suspect they're monogononta because, at least according to the wikipedia, they have reduced crowns wheras the bdelloids apparently have distinct corona divided into two parts and I"m not seeing that in these. The crown is fairly small and doesn't appear divided.
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