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Introduction

The genus Apusomonas includes flattened gliding flagellates in which the anterior flagellum emerges from a projecting mastigophore. There are two flagella, and both insert near the projecting end of the mastigophore. The second flagellum runs backwards to lie under the cell - and usually it cannot be seen. The mastigophore beats slowly as the cell moves.

Species in this genus eat bacteria, with the food being ingested taken ventrally. Temporary cysts may be formed, and the genus is cryptobiotic - i.e. the organism can dry out. The genus is common in soils (world-wide) and has also been reported from fresh-waters.

There are two species. The type species is A. proboscidea Aléxéieff 1924.

This genus has a clear identity (sensu Patterson 1999). It was not reported for 50 years after the publication of the original description by Aléxéieff. In 1974 Vickerman and co-workers published a detailed light- and scanning-electron microscopy which has provided the genus with its current identity. The delay between the original paper and that of Vickerman and colleagues may explain why the same taxon was studied independently by Karpov and Zhukov (1986) under the name Rostromonas.

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