Field of Science

Anoxic microforay Part II: Everything looks like Bodo

To the untrained eye, all tiny heteroflagellates look the same. To the slightly trained eye, all tiny heteroflagellates look like Bodo.

Anyway, here's a continuation of the smelly marine anoxic sludge microforay I should've finished over a month ago. Taking a break from the much too long Sunday Protist post...

There were lots of bodonids (kinetoplastids, see phylogeny in this post). A lot. Plenty of other excavates around too.

They tend to move about by twisting around their anterior-posterior axis with the anterior flagellum sticking in front, the posterior often wrapping around the body as it trails behind.

Free-living bodonids are quite common and diverse. Also quite understudied, as they don't cause disease. This makes them kind of annoying, as there's so many of them and so little to say. They do have interesting mitochondrial genomes, constituting the kinetoplasts, the group's namesake.

This next thing is another excavate. It reminds me of Carpediemonas (a basal fornicate, near diplomonads et al.), but I'm not entirely sure.

Chilomastix-y thing? Can't tell if there's supposed to be more flagella there...

Unidentifiable mess, but there appears to be a peculiar ridge or line of vesicles or something:

Presumably another bodonid. Wasn't moving quite like the others though...

Trigonomonas or something like it. Hard to catch the bugger in its distinctive pose.

Heteroloboseans! They showed some dramatic eruptive pseudopodial motion; will put up a video once I figure out how to. Though I can't currently rule out their being amoebozoans with eruptive pseudopodia (there are some). The human eye isn't particularly great at distinguishing apart amoeboid things.

Another interesting excavate with a very obvious oral groove. It apparently noticed being noticed, and immediately swam away into a pile of debris, and sneered at me from there. That bastard. The second image shows it from its side. Hard to ID anyway... perhaps some Enteromonad-y thing? Hard to tell how many flagella this one has...

A few more shots of that weird flagellate I mentioned earlier. I think it has four flagella now. Who knows how many tomorrow shall bring...

A heterotrophic euglenid, perhaps Petalomonas sp; it feels its way around with its thick anterior flagellum as it crawls around. The posterior flagellum remains inside the flagellar pocket. The cytostome is also visible inside the cell as the wedge-looking thing.

*shrug* Could be some cercozoany thing. Or maybe not.

Bacterial jungle the above critters seem to thrive in:

Next installment: Misc. non-excavate stuff.

Oh, on the topic of excavates, a jakobid from a freshwater (pond) sample. At least I think it is – looks like Reclinomonas americana. Do they form small stalked colonies like that?


  1. Your chilomastixy thing looks like a run-of-the-mill stramenopile.

    Your Reclinomonas-like think is more likely to be a Pseudodendromonad, I think.

    Trigonomonas might actually be Trepomonas (more often seen than Trigonomonas.

    Most of the other positive IDs look right. Your first Bodonid is almost certainly from the Neobodo designis cluster.

    Alastair Simpson

  2. Thanks, Alastair!

    Re Trepomonas, from a different sample we've got some twistier versions of this thing, resembling Trigonomonas a lot more... you're right, this looks a lot more like Trepomonas.

    I like to think I suck a little less at IDing now... (though I'm still awful with Stramenopiles)


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