During 1988, I constructed a very small pond in our garden, it is not intended as a fish pond; its main purpose is to provide a place to receive water from tarn, loch, lake, ditch etc, after I have finished examining a good proportion of it under the microscope - water from habitats all over Britain collected and sent by friends or collected myself. I realise of course, that the water in my pond will not always be chemically suited for the flora and fauna in the containers that I empty into it, but at least it has a chance to survive.
Many members of the PMS will know that my main interest is in freshwater algae, particularly the desmids. However I am not averse to examining in some detail any interesting fauna I find when searching slides. I am naturally particularly interested in any invertebrates that may be feeding on desmids, (see Brook and Ells, 'Microscopy', vol 35, part 7 1987). In 1989 a friend who has an established pond about a mile away, gave us a water iris for my little pond. He brought this along in a plastic bag of which was a couple of teaspoons of nice green water, in which I found several specimens of a sedentary rotifer, all new to me.
Notes on the image:
Head of sucking tentacles form almost a complete ball. There are a lot of out of focus suckers coming forward and going away from the viewer.
From Wrattens pond 18th Jan 1989.
Suctoria Family Acinetina.
Tentacles 35 - 40 microns long.
Family Trichophryidae also in sample; irregular in shape, body no stalk, tentacles up to 450 microns.
Suctoria belong to the class of ciliated animalcules, phylum Ciliophora. In the adult state they are aciliate (without cilia), attached with or without a stalk, and immobile, so they are also acineta. Multiplication is by budding and the detached buds are completely ciliated. Suctoria feed by sucking dry ciliates caught on their sticky tentacles (I did not see any caught). The specimen figured is Acineta lacustris (the word lacustris means pertaining to lakes) usually attached plants (Figure 1).
Other specimens in the water were almost certainly Tricophyra epistylidis. Both species inhabit freshwater only. There are about 45 genera and many species. There are other phyla that are marine.
'Protozoa' Albert Westphal 1976.
'How to Know the Protozoa' Jahn, Bovee and Jahn 1949.
'Freshwater Life' John Clegg 1952, revised 1974.
The Micscape Editor thanks William Ells for contributing this article, which first appeared in Balsam Post the quarterly magazine of the Postal Microscopical Society, UK. Note that Bill Ells has written a number of articles on desmids which are an attractive and fascinating algae, including an Introduction to the Desmids. All these articles can be found in our Articles Library in the Pond-life section.
There is another article on a Suctorian called Podophyra written by Mike Samworth in the Articles Library.
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