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Paramecium: ciliate example
What they are - biological definition
Ciliates are protozoa that move through the movement of eyelashes. In some ciliate species, eyelashes are also used for food intake. These living things belong to the phylum Ciliophora. They can live in water or as parasites on the inner body of animals.
Main features of ciliates
- May come in various formats depending on the species
- The eyelashes can cover the whole body of the microorganism or just part of it.
- They have two types of cores: micronucleus or macronucleus. The micronucleus acts in the reproduction process (asexual and sexual). Already the macronucleus, besides participating in the process of asexual reproduction, also acts on the metabolism of cells.
- These are microorganisms that can only be viewed using a microscope. Most ciliates measure between 50 and 900 micrometers.
- Eat the food through the phagocytosis process.
- They have specialized organelles (digestive vacuoles, micronucleus, macronucleus) inside the cytoplasm.
- The ciliate feed consists mainly of: algae, bacteria and yeast.
It can be asexual or sexual.
Asexual reproduction occurs through transverse binary division.
Sexual reproduction is called conjugation, because the union between two ciliates occurs. In this process, without the formation of gametes, the original beings (children) have the same characteristics as the initial ciliates.
- Codonella Crater
Many ciliates can enter the human body, living as parasites and generating disease. A good way to avoid this problem is to consume only filtered or boiled water, as many species of these protozoans live in contaminated water.