All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

<strong>Vorticella</strong> - a ciliated protozoan 200X magnification

These microscopic, single-celled organisms (they are <u>not</u> "bugs" or animals!) are fun to observe through a microscope. Vorticella are stalked, ciliated protozoa. The bell-sh...
Vorticella - a ciliated protozoan 200X magnification

These microscopic, single-celled organisms (they are not "bugs" or animals!) are fun to observe through a microscope. Vorticella are stalked, ciliated protozoa. The bell-shaped part of the cell has a ring of cilia, tiny hairlike structures that wave back and forth to pull in any edible particles in the water. When the cells are stimulated in a negative manner (like when I put them under a projection microscope with a hot, bright light!) the stalk coils like a spring, they spin and pull down toward the substrate to which they are attached. They appear to bounce or pop up and down. The thin, thread-like stalks are just barely visible on some of the cells in this photo.
A Vorticella spins around like a vortex or small tornado, probably the origin of the "vorti" part of its name. These cells are attached to a green alga strand. I often see the attached to leaflets of Milfoil and even small aquatic snail shells.

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