Heterotrophic diplopsaloid dinoflagellate (Oblea sp.), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). The genus Oblea is a thecate (armoured), marine planktonic, heterotrophic (non-photosynthetic) dinoflagellate. The armoured epitheca is well developed with a small apical spine. Unlike photosynthetic dinoflagellates (true algae), heterotrophic dinoflagellates feed directly on diatoms, other dinoflagellates, prasinophytes and ciliates. Diplopsaloid dinoflagellates feed primarily on other dinoflagellates and prasinophytes (small, marine, green algae). Oblea species are pallium-feeding dinoflagellates. Their prey is first captured by a thin filament that extends from the flagellar pore. They then extrude a membranous pseudopod, called the pallium, around the captured cell. Digestive enzymes are thought to be secreted into the pallium for the digestion of the prey. Oblea species are found worldwide in coastal marine environments. Magnification: x665 when.
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