The media seems to be obsessed with posting pictures/videos of things eating things; apparently that generates a lot of
Following images from Jacobson & Anderson 1986 J. Phycol, unless otherwise stated)
A dino (Protoperidinium) extends its pallium (feeding pseudopod) to devour a sizeable chain of diatoms (Chaetoceros); why bother bringing food to your mouth/gut when you can bring your gut to your food instead?
Yes, it eats that whole thing! Super Big Macs and 12" subs would be no problem for Protoperidinium, although this fine diner probably actually has standards.
So cute, yet so voracious! NOM NOM NOM /memeplex
Detail of feeding apparatus:
(Jacobson & Anderson 1992, J Phycol)
The pallium can be described as a 'feeding' veil, a feature found in some thecate (armoured) predatory dinos, which cannot devour large prey as their expansion is limited by the thecal plates (an alternative is myzocytosis, or 'drinking through a straw'). The dino then proceeds to digest its prey much like a fungus - by secreting digestive enzymes and consuming the useful products (from ToLweb Dino page).
Diversity of dining etiquette among knightly armoured dinoflagellates:
Dinoflagellate feeding is a fascinating topic in itself, but I should probably abstain until after the upcoming final. Added to post topic queue.
I honestly intended for this post to consist of one picture; then I got carried away. Scholarly literature is addicting (that's normal, right? *crickets*)
/massive procrastination foray
Jacobson, D., & Anderson, D. (1986). THECATE HETEROPHIC DINOFLAGELLATES: FEEDING BEHAVIOR AND MECHANISMS Journal of Phycology, 22 (3), 249-258 DOI: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.1986.tb00021.x
Jacobson, D., & Anderson, D. (1992). ULTRASTRUCTURE OF THE FEEDING APPARATUS AND MYONEMAL SYSTEM OF THE HETEROTROPHIC DINOFLAGELLATE PROTOPERIDINIUM SPINULOSUM1 Journal of Phycology, 28 (1), 69-82 DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-3646.1992.00069.x
Also see: Gaines & Taylor 1984 J Plankton Research "Extracellular Digestion in Marine Dinoflagellates"