Sunday, June 7, 2009

Living Springs








This unusual single-celled organism, called Vorticella, lives amongst the algae that line the inside my water butt, that collects rainwater from the garage roof. Each individual resembles a bell attached to a patch of algae via a long stalk. It feeds using a ring of beating hairs around the edge of the ‘bell’, creating a water current that sweeps in minute algae. All those green blobs inside are algae that it has trapped. Vorticella reacts to the slightest disturbance in a remarkable way, by coiling its stalk like a spring so that it shrinks back out of sight. The short video clip shows this behaviour quite nicely. Each Vorticella is about a fifth of a millimetre long, at full stretch. You can read more about Vorticella at http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjun03/wdvorticella.html



video

7 comments:

  1. Fascinating, it's almost like being a voyeur, intruding on something normally so secret.

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  2. Put four of these things in a line attached to some sort of micro-crank and you've got the first Vorticella piston engine.

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  3. It sometimes feels like that when you're watching them down the microscope, Toffeeapple. They all seem so busy and purposeful.........

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  4. Funny your should mention that, Rob; I've had a few cars that felt like they had Vorticellid engines.....

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  5. Really nice learn about this kind of single cell organism

    Amarjit Singh Kullar

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  6. It is nice to learn about this single cell organism

    Amarjit Singh Kullar

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  7. Thanks for visiting Amarjit, I've always found these lowly forms of life fascinating. Other larger, more complex organisms and appeared and become extinct during the course of millions of years, but these have survived since the earliest stages of evolution..... If we were to measure evolutionary success in terms of durability, then these would be winners!

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