GERD GUENTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GERD GUENTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light microscope footage of Trichodina pediculus, a peritrich ciliate living epizoic on a wide range of hosts. In this sample a Hydra vulgaris tentacle is shown with several Trichodina ciliates in lateral view, looking like little hats moving around on the surface of the tentacles. The tentacles possess a large number of specialized cells called cnidocytes, which contain the stinging structures. Upon contact, the nematocysts in the tentacle usually fire into the prey. Trichodina Ciliates obviously do not release this reaction when they move over the cnidocytes. Trichodina ciliates mainly feed on bacteria, with the oral apparatus on the anterior side of the cell. The posterior end is occupied by a complicated holdfast consisting of three ciliary wreaths and a adhesive disc. The cells move over the hydra surface with the posterior side, the holdfast disc apparatus sometimes is visible. Trichodina pediculus and many other trichodinids parasitize the skin and gills of freshwater fish. Healthy hosts normally bear only a few parasites, whereas stressed fish often are heavily infested. Microscopic contrast method used: differential interference contrast. Captured field width: 0.4 mm.
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