What Are the Characteristics of Ciliophora?

Ciliophora is a large and diverse group, but all move via hair-like structures lining their pellicles, rigid structures protecting their outer membranes, known as cilia, and all have at least two major nuclei, along with minor nuclei used for sexual reproduction. This group is largely predatory, feeding on other single-celled organisms, although some are parasites on multicellular organisms. A few even survive solely on the nutrients from symbiotic photosynthetic bacteria.

Ciliaphora mostly live in freshwater, and thrive in stagnant pools where there are large populations of bacteria to feed on. Certain species also feed on algae or even other ciliaphora. They also live as pathogens within a wide variety of animals. They are particularly dangerous in this capacity because, unlike bacteria, any medication that damages them is likely to be damaging to animal cells as well.

Most reproduction of ciliaphora is aesexual, but they are capable of sexual reproduction as well. They possess secondary, small nuclei which they use for this purpose. They come together with another cell, recombine the DNA from the secondary nuclei of each, and then divide into four daughter cells with the new genetic code. Their aesexual reproduction is done with their primary, larger nuclei, which are also used for their normal cell functions.