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Description of Carteria

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Cells mostly radially symmetrical, sometimes dorsiventrally flattened; cell shape ovoid, ellipsoidal, spherical, inverted ovoid, cylindrical or spindle-shaped; cell wall adherent to the protoplast, 4 flagella; chloroplast single, variable in shape ranging from cup-shaped, unilaterally parietal, asteroid, variously lobed and perforated, reticulate or dispersed into small pieces; pyrenoid present (1 - several); eyespot present (rarely absent); nucleus more or less central; contractile vacuoles, two or four, anteriorly located; asexual reproduction by 2-8 zoospores; sexual reproduction isogamous, anisogamous, in one species oogamous; sexual fusion of isogametes is initiated by flagellar agglutination and cell wall lysis; in one species gametic flagella soon desintegrate and gametic fusion is by aplanogamy; zygotes either planozygotes (with 4 or 8 flagella) or aplanozygotes, the latter germinate by release of a transparent vesicle enclosing 4 - 16 zoospores; mature zygotes with mostly smooth, thick cell walls, often accumulating secondary carotenoids; resting and palmelloid stages known.
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