FRANK FOX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANK FOX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stentor with vorticella. Light microscope footage of ciliate protozoa Stentor sp. (left) and Vorticella sp. (centre). The Stentor approaches, and the Vorticella contracts its stalk when disturbed. Both of these organisms are filter-feeding freshwater protozoa. Stentor species can reach lengths up to 2 millimetres, and are among the largest known unicellular organisms. Some species live symbiotically with certain species of green algae (numerous green spheres). After being ingested, the algae live on and continue to photosynthesize, while their host absorbs nutrients produced, and the algae receive protection and feed on the Stentor?'?s metabolic wastes. Vorticella consist of a bell-shaped head and a contractile stalk that is anchored to the substrate. When disturbed, the stalk is contracted in a protective motion. Cilia (tiny hair-like structures) attached to the head are used to create currents to capture food and also for movement.
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