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Blepharisma protozoan, light micrograph

Blepharisma protozoan, light micrograph

C003/6598

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Credit

GERD GUENTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GERD GUENTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Blepharisma protozoan. Differential interference contrast micrograph of the ciliate protozoan Blepharisma americana. This tiny single-celled organism is found in freshwater. It feeds on bacteria and decaying organic matter, which it filters through membranelles in its primitive mouth, known as a buccal cavity (lower right). The membranelles, rows of fused cilia (short microscopic hairs), are also used for locomotion. When feeding conditions are good these protozoa can grow to an enormous size and the giant Bleparismas are sometimes seen to feed on their normal sized relatives. Magnification: x75 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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