Caption: Marine phytoplankton cryptomonad (Rhodomonas salina). The cryptomonads are a small group of flagellates, most of which have chloroplasts. They occur in marine and brackish water, as well fresh water. Cells are ovoid and flattened in shape with an anterior groove. At the edge of the goove there are two slightly unequal flagella used for locomotion. Cryptomonads are distinguished by the presence of specialized extrusomes called ejectisomes (not shown), which consist of two connected spiral ribbons that are held under tension. If the cells are disturbed either by mechanical, chemical or light, they discharge the ejectisome, propelling the cell in a zigzag course away from the disturbance. Originally cryptomonads were considered close relatives of the dinoflagellates because of their similar pigmentation. Botanists now treat them as a separate division called Cryptophyta, while zoologists treated them as protozoa flagellates in the order Cryptomonadida. There is considerable evidence that cryptomonad chloroplasts are closely related to those of heterokonts and haptophytes. These three groups are sometimes classified in a group called Chromista.
Magnification*: x1,200
Type: SEM
Copyright 2009 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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