Cafeteria (cafeteria) is probably the most abundant heterotrophic flagellate in marine ecosystems. It is a voracious bacterivore. Sessile feeding cells are D-shaped, 1.5 to 10 microns long, and laterally compressed. There is a ventral groove, and the flagella insert at the head of the groove. These cells have been disturbed, and are not feeding. The anterior flagella have the sine-wave beat pattern that is characteristic of stramenopiles. The posterior flagella are shorter. Phase contrast. This picture was taken by David Patterson, Linda Amaral Zettler and Virginia Edgcomb of materials from sediments of the marine site, Eel Pond in Austumn 2000, spring and summer 2001. Image copyright: D. J. Patterson, L. Amaral-Zettler and V. Edgcomb, image used under license to MBL (micro*scope).
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From the collection
Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
|Description of Cafeteria roenbergensis: Cells are D-shaped, 2 to 5 microns long, and laterally compressed. There is a shallow groove on the left side of the cell. Two flagella of similar length emerge subapically and are slightly longer than the cell. The anterior (= feeding = hairy - the hairs are not visible by light microscopy) flagellum is directed perpendicular to the ventral face of the cell of attached cells. The posterior flagellum is reflexed, passing over one face of the cell and then attaching to the substrate by the tip. In swimming cells, the anterior flagellum is directed forwards and beats with a sine-wave, and the posterior flagellum is directed backwards and trails. Usually the cells move quickly following a spiral path, but sometimes they move slowly. Bacteria may be ingested near the anterior part or posterior part of the ventral groove. Acronema sippiwissettensis Teal et al.,1998 cannot be readily distinguished from this species, nor can Cafeteria mylnikovi at a structural level, but is said to differ in sequence characteristics of the small ribosomal RNA molecule. |