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Description of Mallomonas

Single-cell, flagellates, size 6 µm to > 60µm long; shape globose to elongate; cells covered by silica scale armour; silica scales variable and taxon specific; bristles attached to silica scales in many species, and spines on scales of a few species; typically with one visible flagellum when observed by light microscopy although some species with two visible flagella; second flagellum, if present, visible by electron microscopy; swelling on second flagellum thought to be functional in phototaxis; long flagellum bearing tripartite flagellar hairs and at least sometimes bearing organic flagellar scales; two parietal chloroplasts; no eyespot; contractile vacuoles usually in the posterior region of the cell; chrysolaminaran vacuole posterior to the nucleus; cell division by longitudinal cleavage from anterior to posterior of cell; endogenously formed siliceous cysts known for many species; amoeboid and palmelloid stages reported; sexual reproduction apparently present and occurring by lateral or posterior fusion of isogamous (vegetative?) cells; predominately freshwater (rarely marine); widespread in distribution in temporary pools, bogs, ponds, and lakes of all sizes. Type species: Mallomonas acaroides Perty 1852.

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