DR OLIVER SKIBBE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR OLIVER SKIBBE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vampyrella feeding on algae. Time-lapse light microscopy footage of a Vampyrella lateritia trophozoite (centre) attached to and feeding on a strand of Spirogyra algae (bottom). Vampyrella is a unicellular micro-organism sometimes described as a 'vampire amoeba'. It attacks other microscopic organisms, such as algae, and penetrates their cell walls and extracts the contents (partial extraction seen here). In this clip, the trophozoite is actively removing water from its food vacuoles (exocytosis) so it can ingest the rest of the Spirogyra protoplast (green). Vampyrella are found in aquatic freshwater environments, with other vampyrellid species found in soil and in the sea. The speed of this footage has been increased to ten times normal.
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