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An ink dinoflagellate

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Things have been a little tense lately… here, have a dinoflagellate! (kinda looks like a space ship, no?)

This ink drawing is based on Protoperidium, a dinoflagellate notable for its ‘pallium feeding‘: upon finding something tasty but awkwardly-shaped, it extrudes a ‘feeding veil’ in the form of a pseudopod-like structure, which then envelops the prey — whom awkwardness fails to save. Once safely inside this feeding extension, the prey gets dissolved and digested, and eventually only the inedible bits like diatom frustules get spat out. In a way, the dino extrudes its guts outside to devour what cannot fit through its mouth. So much for the poor algae who work so hard to stick together in chains too large to be eaten!

No matter how awkwardly large and cumbersome the mess may be in your life, may this dinoflagellate envelop and digest it away for you!

Psi Wavefunction About the Author: Psi Wavefunction is a graduate student working with protists (the 'other' eukaryotes) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and now blogs about protists and evolution at Skeptic Wonder. Follow on Twitter @Ocelloid.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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