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Vorticella

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Vorticella, seen at the microscope.
Vorticella, growing on a ram horn snail shell, in a pond. The snail gives an indication of the vorticella size.

Vorticella is a microscopic organism that grows in fresh water. It feeds on bacteria, and other microorganisms. Despite its general appearance, vorticella is neither an animal, nor a plant. It belongs to a totally different group, the Ciliates. Vorticella's close relatives include, for example, paramecium and stentor.

The vorticella's body is egg-like, with a crown of tiny hairs, the cilia : the vorticella uses its cilia by swinging it in the water, to catch its preys and take it to its mouth. The body ends by an elongated kind of stem, by which the vorticella is fixed to its support : a weed stem, a pebble, a snail's shell... The vorticella's general shape looks like a kind of flower... But vorticella is not a plant : it has a mouth, and catch bacteria and other small microorganisms that it feeds on. Vorticella is a tiny organism, usually less than a millimeter long.

Vorticella reproduces itself by budding : a new vorticella grows on the body of the first one, and later comes away to attach elsewhere. This makes lod vorticella, with a lots of buds, looking like a bunch of flowers.

Vorticella looks like a kind of coral, but it is quite smaller, and mostly it is not an animal : its whole body is constituted of only one cell.

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