STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Protozoan. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the dinoflagellate, Dinophysis sp. Dinoflagellates are unicellular protozoans and about 90% are found in marine environments as plankton. They are characterised by a complex covering called an amphiesma, which is made of a continuous outer and inner membrane. The amphiesma can be perforated. Another major characteristic is the presence of two flagella. One flagellum beats back and forth, while the other is flat and ribbon-like, and works as a rudder to steer and rotate. Dinophysis sp. produces lipophilic toxins, which can accumulate in shellfish and cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) in humans. Magnification unknown.
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