This article is about Volvox, a colony of microorganisms. For the rock music band with the same name, see Volvox (band)

Volvox is one of the best-known chlorophytes and is the most developed in a series of genera that form spherical colonies. Each Volvox is composed of numerous flagellate cells similar to Chlamydomonas, on the order of 1000–3000 in total, interconnected and arranged in a glycoprotein-filled sphere (coenobium). The cells swim in a coordinated fashion, with a distinct anterior and posterior – or since Volvox resembles a little planet, a 'north' pole and a 'south' pole. The cells have eyespots, more developed near the anterior, which enable the colony to swim towards light.

An asexual colony includes both somatic, or vegetative, cells, which do not reproduce, and gonidia near the posterior, which produces new colonies through repeated division. These daughter colonies are initially held within the parent and have their flagella directed inwards. Later, the parent disintegrates and the daughters invert. In sexual reproduction two types of gametes are produced. Volvox species can be monoecious or dioecious. Male colonies release numerous microgametes, or sperm, while in female colonies single cells enlarge to become oogametes, or eggs.


Volvox is found in ponds and ditches, and even in shallow puddles.

According to Chamberlain (1932),

The most favorable place to look for it is in the deeper ponds, lagoons, and ditches which receive an abundance of rain water. It has been said that where you find Lemna, you are likely to find Volvox; and it is true that such water is favorable, but the shading is unfavorable. Look where you find Sphagnum, Vaucheria, Alisma, Equisetum fluviatile, Utricularia, Typha, and Chara. Dr. Nieuwland reports that Pandorina, Eudorina and Gonium are commonly found in summer as constituents of the green scum on wallows in fields where pigs are kept. The flagellate, Euglena, is often associated with these forms. If you have a culture in the laboratory, do not throw it out when the culture disappears, because new coenobia are likely to develop from the oospores.

The individual algae are connected by thin strands of cytoplasm, called protoplasmates.

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