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Discover how individual cilia employ viscous traction to coordinate power and also recovery strokes for locomotion

ciliate, or ciliophoran, any type of member the the protozoan phylum Ciliophora, of i m sorry there room some 8,000 species; ciliates space generally taken into consideration the most evolved and complicated of protozoans. Ciliates are single-celled biology that, in ~ some phase in your life cycle, own cilia, brief hairlike organelles supplied for locomotion and also food gathering.

The cilia are usually arranged in rows, well-known as kineties, ~ above the pellicle (cell covering), however they may fuse together near the cytostome (cell mouth) the some species to form membranelles or undulating membranes (various sheetlike or fan-shaped groupings that cilia); elsewhere on the pellicle, cilia may form limblike tufts referred to as cirri. Most ciliates have a versatile pellicle and also contractile vacuoles, and many save on computer toxicysts or other trichocysts, small organelles through thread- or thorn-like structures that have the right to be discharged because that anchorage, because that defense, or for capturing prey.



The ciliates room the most structurally homogeneous group, although even they have evolved considerable variation on the...

Ciliates have one or much more macronuclei and from one to several micronuclei. The macronuclei manage metabolic and developmental functions; the micronuclei are crucial for reproduction.

Reproduction is generally asexual, although sexual exchange occurs as well. Asexual replication is usually by transverse binary fission or by budding (q.v.). Sexual phenomena incorporate conjugation (genetic exchange in between individuals) and autogamy (nuclear reorganization in ~ an individual). Sexual reproduction does not always an outcome in an prompt increase in numbers; however, link is often complied with by binary fission.


Although many ciliates room free-living and also aquatic, such together the Paramecium (q.v.), many are ectocommensals, apartment harmlessly ~ above the gills or integument of invertebrates, and some, such together the dysentery-causing Balantidium (q.v.

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), are parasitic. For info on representative ciliates, see peritrich; spirotrich; suctorian.