Field of Science

Latest in bizzare intestinal ciliates: Troglocorys cava of chimps

ResearchBlogging.orgAhhh, I always get excited whenever something new pops up in J Euk Microbiol!

This time we have a rather bizzare entodiniomorphid ciliate (remember Litostomatea?): Troglocorys cava, a gut denizen of chimps from Uganda! The following SEM may give you the impression that it's gut has been sliced open with entrails hanging out:

Litostomatean intestinal ciliate Troglocorys from the chimp. Note the peculiar concavity (1; CO), filled with "round projections" and a "deep groove" (3; arrows). Scalebar = 10um. (Tokiwa et al. 2010 JEM)

This particular ciliate wasn't actually gutted by a microscopist, but has a rather intense concavity, shaped much like an ice cream scoop. Why? Hell if I know -- its 'mouth' (vestibulum, cytostome, etc) is actually on the top, not in the concavity, although perhaps it could employ the concavity to aid with current formation or filtering or something. Or maybe some form of endocytosis happens on that surface, kind of like on the surface of Saccinobaculus. It's a species description paper, so the emphasis really wasn't on what it actually does with its peculiar morphology. Ie, I don't know. But it definitely requires a nice diagram to show what's going on:

12 - ventral side view*; 13 - detail of left concavity (CO); 14,15 - diagram of ciliature (arrangement of cilia) on ventral (14) and (15) left sides. CV - contractile vacuole; CP - cytoproct ('anus'); MA, MI - macronucleus and micronucleus, respectively; DG - deep groove;PR - "small round projection"; VS - vestibulum (entrance to its 'mouth') Scalebar - 10um (Tokiwa et al. 2010 JEM)
*in ciliates, the ventral side is defined as the one containing the oral apparatus

Why Troglocorys? Rather aptly named:
"Troglocorys is named after the left concavity and the frontal lobe (Gr. troglo-. trogle, hole; Gr. corys, helmet)" (Tokiwa et al. 2010 JEM)
Someone could sell these as character designs for space travel sci-fi movies... imagine this thing but human-sized! Don't you wish you could enlarge some of these things and play with them? Ciliates would make such awesome (and dangerous) pets! I can't be the only person who thinks about such things...hello? *chirp chirp*

TOKIWA, T., MODR�, D., ITO, A., POMAJB�KOV�, K., PETRŽELKOV�, K., & IMAI, S. (2010). A New Entodiniomorphid Ciliate, Troglocorys cava n. g., n. sp., from the Wild Eastern Chimpanzee from Uganda
Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology DOI: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2009.00456.x

1 comment:

  1. Well, there are two of us, at least... I always like to point out that the weirdest forms of alien life that we can imagine usually pale in comparison to the weirdness of the things that are all around us here on Earth! Even within the animal kingdom, there are things that range from simply odd to disturbingly alien; go beyond that to the diversity of life in general and there really is no limit to the strangeness. There are bacteria that breathe rock, for instance....


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