Field of Science

Scaled protists and bloated distractions

Ok, I was gonna just post this picture as filler, and then suddenly got sucked into the microbial biogeography debate – you know, "is everything everywhere?" etc. So I was going to write up a quick blurb on that, but it somehow grew out of control. As I don't have time for such epic digressions at this moment, esp w a promised post quite overdue, amidst other stuff, I'll just shelve that for later and simply post the pretty picture instead. Enjoy this lineup of protists scaled to the size of a pinhead:

How many protists can dance atop a pin? (Finlay 2002 Science)
I'm going to try to vaguely identify them, from left to right: Chaos sp.; Stentor sp.; some random amoebozoan; Amoeba sp.; Loxodes? man I suck at this; Bursaria sp.?; Paramecium sp.; Mayorella sp.?; a euglyphid; another bloody ciliate; Strombidium; Difflugia-like thing; Euplotes; Ophryscolex-like; heterotrophic euglenid; heterotrophic euglenid again (Peranema); het eugl (Entosiphon or Petalomonas), Chlamydomonas? too small; ?, pedinellid-like thing?; Bodo, non-descript small unknown flagellate? Bodo., last two look like those tiny non-photosynthetic stramenopiles everyone ignores.

This tangent was initiated by working on that long overdue post, by the way. Apparently, one graph is enough to lead me on a massive multi-window-tab-explosion journey into the wild unknowns, even if it involves ecology. Maybe this is why it's taking me like four months to write a single freaking chapter. I'm not sure the free version of Mendeley was meant to handle hundreds upon hundreds of references. Let's see what it does once I hit a thousand, which will be soon. At least researching flagellar root apparatuses doesn't typically lead me to Hooke's description of the first cell, unlike one particular reader here =P (who needs to update, by the way...)

Oh, and submit to the carnivals! The more posts I have, the lest posts I'd have to fake, and the less I must rickroll you with fake links...


  1. They seem too big :S How big is a pinhead?

  2. No idea about pinheads but Stentors tend to be about 1.5-2mm

    Paramecium is maybe around 80-100µm, but I'm just making that number up.

    (My reference is Arabidopsis stomata – about 20-30µm across in cotyledons. Stared at them for 3 years, long enough to use them as a standard for scale ;p)


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