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 Bell animalcules      
 

 Campanella umbellaria

 
     
 

 

Bell animalcules are tiny unicellular organisms that belong to a group called the ciliates. Well known ciliates are the slipper animalcules of the genus Paramecium. Vorticella, the best known bell animalcule has a stalk that contracts in a spiral. Carchesium (see background image) does the same but lives as a colony. The bell animalcules of the genus Campanella also form a colony but can be recognized by the bells that contract and not the stalk. The 3D photograph shows two contracted bells.The stalk is kept stretched.

These animals, like many ciliates, can be found in waters rich of bacteria. With their rows of cilia (Campanella has more rows than other bell animalcules) they transport the food into a body opening on the side. The food is transported in a vacuole through the cell. When the environment becomes inhospitable the creature can grow a ring of cilia around the lower part of the cell and swim away.

 

THE INSTITUTE FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE LESS THAN ONE MILLIMETRE

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3D through a microscope

 

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All Material Copyright: Wim van Egmond

 

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