Vegetative cells are normal, active cells that use their two flagella to move. They actively reproduce by binary division.
When environmental conditions become unfavorable, sexual reproduction is induced, resulting in the generation of cysts. A vegetative cell can produce, or become, a gamete, two of which fuse to form a zygote, which develops into a cyst. Cyst cells do not have flagella, but have thick cell walls and contracted cytoplasm. They have a yellow inclusion that fluoresces yellow when excited by blue light. When cysts are ready to germinate, they fluoresce red due to the chlorophyll they have synthesized. A common way to count cysts uses primuline, which fluoresces green to make the cysts more visible.
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