IUCN threat status:

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Comprehensive Description

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Description of Blepharisma

Mostly pink ciliates, 70 - 1000 microns, ellipsoidal, posterior end slender to broadly rounded, never pointed or elongate. Adoral zone of membranelles extend from anterior end to the mouth which is usually located near the middle of the cell, and there is a well-developed undulating membrane. Cortex flexible, numerous subcortical granules arranged in rows between somatic kineties, the granules are red in most species giving the cells a pink colour, but colourless, yellow and brown cells also occur. Endoplasm colourless, heavily vacuolated, well-fed individuals filled with large food vacuoles. Somatic ciliation is uniform and generally longitudinally arranged. The macronulceus may be rounded, elongate to moniliform. A single, large contractile vacuole is posteriorly positioned. Food uptake in culture including rice starch, bacteria, zooflagellates and ciliates - and Blepharisma can become cannibalistic under some culture circumstances. Body very slightly contractile. Can form plugged cysts. Benthic, planktonic, marine, freshwater and soil. Not uncommon.

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