Heterotrophic dinoflagellate (Oblea sp.), SEM

Heterotrophic dinoflagellate (Oblea sp.), SEM

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Credit: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Heterotrophic diplopsaloid dinoflagellate (Oblea sp.), scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Oblea are thecate (armoured), marine planktonic, heterotrophic (non-photosynthetic) dinoflagellates. 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. Oblea 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 shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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