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Sunday Protist -- Trichonympha


(http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artmar03/rhtermite.html)

Trichonympha

Termite gut symbiont, 200-300 microns long (huge for a protist). On the inside, bottom half, are pieces of wood -- termite gut protists digest cellulose for the termite, who feeds on the metabolic byproducts. The round thing in the centre is the nucleus (with permanently condensed chromosomes), and rows upon rows of flagella. Being a parabasalian, this creature lacks mitochondria like ours -- instead, they have been reduced to hydrogenosomes, which produce hydrogen gas.

The termite gut is a lush ecosystem FULL of cool things, more of which will be posted later. You also have episymbiotic bacteria covering some of the symbiotic protists, resulting in an ecosystem-inside-an-ecosystem type of environment.

Hard to resist the compelling urge to start slicing open random insect guts in hopes of finding protists...

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