Heterotrophic dinoflagellate Protoperidinium sp., coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Protoperidinium species are thecate (armoured), marine planktonic, heterotrophic (non-photosynthetic) dinoflagellate. Shown here is a antapical view of a Protoperidinium species. The armoured theca (surrounding the cell; made of cellulose) is well developed. Unlike photosynthetic dinoflagellates (true algae), heterotrophic dinoflagellates (protists; protozoa) feed directly on diatoms, other dinoflagellates, prasinophytes and ciliates. Protoperidinium is a pallium feeder dinoflagellate that engulfs (ingests) its prey with a pseudopod (pallium). Prey cells are captured individually using a thin filament and are then surrounded by a membrane (the pallium) and digested completely outside the theca. There are over 40 species of Protoperidinium that are distributed worldwide in both cold and temperate seawater. Magnification: x345 when shortest axis printed at 25.
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