Our first exhibit is a peculiar association between a coccolithophorid haptophyte (small phytoplankton), Reticulofenestra sessilis, and a centric diatom, Thalassiosira sp.:
The thing in the centre is the centric diatom. The scaley things around are the coccoliths, or calcified scales, of the haptophytes Reticulofenestra clustering around it. The exact nature of this relationship is unknown, though presumably beneficial for the haptophyte, as R.sesslis is found almost exclusively attached to diatoms. Image by from nannotax.org; original citation - Gaarder & Hasle 1962 Nyü Mag Bot (which doesn't exist online *gasp*)
Speaking of haptophytes, here's another cool-looking one. There is quite a bit to say about haptophytes overall, just too lazy to do it right now. There is a post in the making though...
Umbellosphaera. The things on the surface are its coccoliths, of which each individual is intricately crafted into a chanterelle/trumped-like shape. SEM on the left from a nice image repository/course supplement by Isao Inouye from U Tsukuba, one of the Meccas of protistology. (Website is in Japanese, unfortunately for [most of?] us. I really need to learn Japanese someday...) Image of single coccolith on the right from eol.org.
Now for an obligatory ciliate. Trichodina is a cute little peritrich (group that includes the coiled-stemmed-trumpet Vorticella) that deserves more attention than just a pretty picture, but its looks can't wait to be exposed. Both the top and bottom sides have cilia, and the creature is like a miniature robotic vacuum cleaner, vacuuming the fish gills (or other substrates, like jellyfish) of bacteria and various other prey that accumulate there. In doing so, it causes fish disease, but the cute lil' thing didn't mean to!
Left: Trichodina 'vacuuming' fish gills (source). Middle: DIC image of the Trichodina 'sucker' (surprisingly from National Geographic, of all places). Right: Drawing of the ciliate. (HJ Clark 1866 Am J Sci) Will surely come back to it someday!And last for today, this little critter is absolutely adorable. There's actually quite a bit to say about it, but I'm not gonna do it because some other blogger is far more qualified to write it up. Perhaps after the conference season calms down a little, said blogger could share their wonderful stories with us...
Apusomonas proboscidea. To paraphrase Opisthokont, 'cute Apusomonas' would be redundant. You see that little protrusion at the top? It wiggles 'spastically' as the critter crawls forward along its flagellum. If you're really keen check out the movies in this recent paper on apusomonads (TC-S alert!). Left: Karpov & Myl'nikov 1989 Zoologicheskiy Zhurnal (in Russ.) Right: Flemming Ekelund at ToLWeb (Apusomonas is really tiny...)
That's it for today. Am going out of town until middle of next week, will likely lack internet (eeek, how will I live?!), so if comments are mysteriously ignored, that's why.