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 (upper centre) attached to and feeding on a strand of Spirogyra algae (lower centre). 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. The extraction is in progress at the start of this clip, with the contents fully extracted at the end. In this clip, the trophozoite is using a structure called a lobopodium to extract 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 twenty times normal.
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