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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 14:155-160 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/ame014155

Phagotrophy by a plastidic haptophyte, Prymnesium patelliferum

Urban Tillmann*

Forschungs- und Technologiezentrum Westküste, Universität Kiel, D-25761 Büsum, Germany

Observations and photographs of the previously unsuspected ingestion capacity of the phytoflagellate Prymnesium patelliferum are presented. P. patelliferum took up prey cells of different sizes by an elongated, U-shaped pseudopodium formed at the posterior part of the cells. While feeding, aggregates of several P. patelliferum cells were formed in which their pseudopodia come in close contact. Motile prey cells were immobilised or probably killed before ingestion, but not all protistan species of ingestible size were immobilised or attacked. It is suggested that P. patelliferum may secrete a toxin that serves as a killing agent for prey organisms.

Prymnesium patelliferum · Mixotrophy · Phagotrophy · Haptophyta

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