The Ocelloid

The Ocelloid

Through the eye of a microbe

Bicosoeca -- flagellate in a wineglass


Last post of 2012! Hope it was a good year for you all, and that the next will be even better -- Happy New Year! Some protists sitting in champagne glasses might be relevant to our interests:

Bicosoecids are non-photosynthetic relatives of brown algae. Usually nestled in a delicate lorica (but sometimes devoid of one), bicosoecids sit attached to a substrate with one flagellum, and wave around the other to bring in bacterial prey to devour. At the base of the flagella is a lip-like structure where the unfortunate prey get engulfed after travelling down the current. When startled, they rapidly withdraw their flagellum into a characteristic spiral, which you can see in the bottom specimen of the group. Most tend to be solitary, but this species forms loricate tree-like colonies, like wineglasses stacked upon each other. Despite their small size and timid appearance, their cell structure is fairly complicated and --hoping you'd agree with me -- quite elegant.

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

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