DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a lateral girdle view (diplopsaloid) of a Protoperidinium sp. dinoflagellate. Protoperidinum species are thecate (armoured) marine planktonic heterotrophic (non-photosynthetic) dinoflagellates. The armoured theca (surrounding the cell; made of cellulose) is well developed. Unlike photosynthetic dinoflagellates (true algae), heterotrophic dinoflagellates (protists; protozoa) feed directly on diatoms, other dinoflagellates, prasinophytes and ciliates. Protoperidinium is a pallium feeder that engulfs its prey with a pseudopod (pallium). Prey cells are captured individually using a thin filament and are then surrounded by a membrane and digested completely outside the theca. Specimen from an algal bloom in the Persian Gulf off Kuwait. Magnification: x2,500 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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