Field of Science

Protistology Q&A on Reddit + gratuitous ciliate video

Earlier today I felt like procrastinating a little and posted a protistology IAmA thread on Reddit (basically threads where the opening poster answers questions, titles formatted like this: I Am A XYZ, Ask Me Anything). I expected a couple questions before the thread disappears forever into the obscurity of the great internet graveyard. Shockingly enough, apparently people actually care about science or something because I was typing away non-stop at a blizzard of questions for a few hours, until now. It was quite inspiring to see the type of questions people can come up with (even the basic badly-worded ones show that at least people care enough to ask), and learned a few things along the way too. Anyway, I'll come back to answer more stuff tomorrow, but here's the thread for the curious. Feel free to stop by and ask stuff! I find that sometimes the blog comment area can be a bit intimidating if you feel you have a dumb question, so you don't ask anything. Reddit dilutes that effect, and is quite a bit more anonymous.

Protistology Q&A on Reddit

And now to randomly show off a random Haptorian ciliate – meet Litonotus, a vicious predator armed with terrifying toxicysts, which you can see as long narrow things in its cytoplasm. Also note the two prominent macronuclei visible as clear-ish round areas in the cell. Litonotus is cool and all, but the bastard preys on creatures like Euplotes, which are kind of adorable (imagine Litonotus eats kittens...that's how bad it is). Nature is red in tooth cytostome and claw cilium indeed...


  1. Awesome video. What are the particulars on the microscope and lighting used?

    BTW, what is the status of grad school? Are you going somewhere next year?

  2. Great site...bookmarked. I came for the Eukaryote Tree & stayed for the blog.

    Speaking of the rapacious Litonotus, I ran across this entertaining amateur video a few days ago:


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