Friday, January 13, 2012

Paramecium under Microscope

Paramecium is a slipper shaped ciliate found in oxygenated aquatic environments feeding near vegetative matter. Paramecia are unicellular microorganisms belonging to the protoctist phylum Ciliophora. Members of this phylum (ciliates) are characterized by their external covering of continuously beating, hair-like cilia.

Paramecium captured under a fluorescence microscope with the Jenoptik C3 microscope camera.

Paramecium are heterotrophs. Their common form of prey is bacteria. A single organism has the ability to eat 5,000 bacteria per day. Paramecium also feed on yeast, algae and small protozoa. They may eject trichocyts when they detect food, in order to capture their prey. These trichocyts are filled with proteins and are sometimes also used in self defense.