Blepharisma ciliate protozoan mouth, SEM

Blepharisma ciliate protozoan mouth, SEM

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Credit: MANFRED KAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Blepharisma ciliate protozoan mouth. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the primitive mouth (buccal cavity) of a ciliate protozoan (Blepharisma americanum). This tiny single-celled organism is found in freshwater. It feeds on bacteria and decaying organic matter, which it filters through membranelles (red and white) in its buccal cavity. The membranelles, rows of fused cilia (short microscopic hairs), are also used for locomotion. When feeding conditions are good this protozoan can grow to an enormous size and the giant Bleparisma is sometimes seen to feed on its normal sized relatives.

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Keywords: aquatic, biological, biology, blepharisma sp., buccal cavity, ciliate, coloured, false-colour, false-coloured, filter feeder, freshwater, heterotrich, invertebrate, invertebrates, membranelles, microbiological, microbiology, motile, mouth, nature, one, protist, protozoan, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, single, single-cell, single-celled, zoological, zoology

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