Microgromia is a tiny amoeba with an organic shell who, much like a spider, lays down a sizeable spread of thread-like pseudopods (filopodia) lines with sticky extrusomes, waiting for the unfortunate bacterium or eukaryotic flagellate to stroll by.
Some amoebae build elaborate houses for themselves to live in. (top and side view of an Arcellinid) Some build their houses out of siliceous (glass) scales and peek out of them with thread-like pseudopods called filopodia.
(I'm pretty sure every non-strictly-autotrophic thing has some form of appetite. Some ciliates and amoebae just tend to display it more prominently -- as in this cool video of a Climacostomum devouring a flatworm!) Frontonia is a genus of predatory ciliates who feed on anything from algae and bacteria to fellow ciliates (and anything else that can fit through the cytostome, or its "throat").
Starting with something perhaps more familiar, like a diatom, here I wanted to show an example of what different optical sections can reveal about an object in the microscope.
Back in the good ol' days on Skeptic Wonder I used to run a little "Mystery Micrograph" series, where an image or a plate (that's not immediately obvious without context) would be grabbed from a paper and posted without source, and much agony would ensue over trying to figure out what it is (or some cheater who happens to work on the bug would drop by and ruin the fun ;p).
Back! Well, trying to — long story short, life got in the way of blogging for a while there, but of course I still really miss it. Won’t bore y’all with details (for now).
I have a confession to make -- even though I work with ciliates at the moment, I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with amoebae. I love them to the point that I get offended whenever anyone within earshot insults them as 'formless' or 'shapeless blobs'.
Am back, I hope! Don't pay any attention to the dust... "What dust?" Exactly. It took a while, but after finally attaining the necessary potentially-overpriced fancy pieces of glass, the lab scope can now take acceptable DIC images.
We all know that eukaryotes are bigger than prokaryotes. On average. Mostly. Of course our pathetic attempts at generalisation are too often devastated in a counterattack by nature's awesomest power: variation.
Welcome to the (ever so slightly late -- sorry) 18th issue of the MolBio carnival! [insert some awful pun involving strains here] For those of us working with live cultures, it's important to remember they have a pedigree, and ultimately come from somewhere outside the lab (after all, all life has a common ancestor somewhere ...).
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