Animal Diversity by Diana R. Kershaw (auth.)

By Diana R. Kershaw (auth.)

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The subphylum Ciliophora is the largest and most homogeneous of the protozoan groups and is characterized by cilia at some stage in the life cycle. The concept of the phylum Protozoa presents a problem in that the unicellular level of organization is the only characteristic by which the phylum can be described. Virtually all motile unicellular organisms have been included in this huge phylum with little regard to their evolutionary relationships. Because of this the members of the Protozoa show much more diversity than is usual between the members of a phylum.

A second sexual process is autogamy. The behaviour of the nuclei is essentially similar to that of conjugation, with degeneration of the macronucleus and division of the micronucleus. However the entire process takes place in one individual and there is therefore no exchange of nuclear material between partners. Dispersal Paramecium is widely distributed in freshwater ponds including those subject to periodic drying and this suggests that it is capable of forming cysts which are resistant to drought and may be easily dispersed.

The histology of the gastrodermis is similar to that of the epidermis: interstitial cells, nerve and sensory cells (although in far smaller numbers) and mucus-secreting cells being present. Mucus-secreting cells are particularly abundant round the mouth where they aid in swallowing. The nutritive muscle cells correspond to the epitheliomuscular cells of the epidermis but are usually flagellated and can also form pseudopodia. Digestive enzymes are secreted by the enzymatic gland cells which do not have basal contractile processes.

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