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Vorticella is a genus of protozoa, with over 100 known species. They are stalked inverted bell-shaped ciliates, placed among the peritrichs. Each cell has a separate stalk anchored onto the substrate, which contains a contracile fibril called a myoneme. When stimulated this shortens, causing the stalk to coil like a spring. Vorticella mainly live in freshwater ponds and streams - generally anywhere protists are plentiful.

Reproduction is by budding, where the cell undergoes longitudinal fission and only one daughter keeps the stalk. The free daughter becomes a telotroch, which swims until it finds suitable substrate to fix and develop its own stalk.

Other genera such as Carchesium resemble Vorticella but are branched or colonial.

Common species

Movies of Vorticella contracting and extending. Left: Vorticella campanula. Right: Probably Vorticella convallaria at higher magnification. For full resolution click first on image.

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