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Ciliate protozoa, light micrograph


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This peritrich ciliate (Vaginicola sp.) secretes a protective domicile or lorica into which it retreats when disturbed. It is seen here attached to algal cells by a short non-contractile stalk. There are extensive oral ciliature at one pole and a scopula at the other. Pellicular ridges or annulations are visible encircling the elongate body. The cilia create a current of water that drags any nearby microbes into the mouth where they pass into the body and a food vacuole is formed around the prey. Their food prey is mainly bacteria, and like other peritrich ciliates such as Vorticella, they are important for maintaining clean water supplies, and are especially useful in water treatment works. The equipment used was Olympus BH2 microscope, an Olympus 60X S-Plan Apochromat objective, X2.5 NFK Photoeyepiece, Nomarski DIC illumination and a JVC GY-HD101 video camera, with a horizontal field of view of approximately 200 microns, average size range of Vaginicola is 50 to 200 micrometres.

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