HOME Editorial Articles Specimen Galleries Tutorials Projects Archive Suppliers Links
Protozoa: Ciliates
The Suctoria. 
1 of 1
Protozoa: Home Ciliates: Home Holotrich Heterotrich Peritrich Colonial Suctoria

  The Suctoria.

The fully developed suctorians have no cilia, but instead have numerous long contractile tubular tentacles with which they capture prey organisms and suck out their body contents.

They are grouped with the ciliates on account of having a ciliated larval stage, and because they possess both a macronucleus and a micronucleus, in common with all other ciliates. They reproduce in some cases by binary fission, but more often by a process of budding in which ciliated motile larvae are formed either from the upper surface of the adult organism, or from a kind of brood chamber within the body of the cell. The larvae attatch themselves in a new location, lose their cilia, and develop tentacles. Suctorians are also known to conjugate.

They are fairly common in most freshwater habitats, feeding mainly on other ciliates.

  Acineta and Podophyra.

Acineta and Podophyra are two of the most commonly encountered suctorians.

Acineta. Acineta in feeding mode with its two clusters of tentacles fully extended. The sucker-like expansions at the tips of the tentacles can be seen.
Click for a diagram of Acineta.
Phase Contrast: x400.
Podophyra. The suctorian Podophyra fully extended. The structure of the tentacles is very similar to that of Acineta.
Phase Contrast: x400.

Click to compose email