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Travelling Synula

Synula, a colony of brown flagellates is travelling from particle to particle. The colony is composed of about ten or more individual flagellates with long flagella. One member seems to be dividing.

Commentary by Prof. Yuji Tsukii, Hosei University
The commentary in the video “One member seems to be dividing” may not be correct. Although it may look like a flagellate in this Synula colony is dividing, it may in fact be two chloroplasts facing each other. Each cell member of Synula and Mallomonas has two chloroplasts by nature. It is likely that one cell in the colony has died, leaving two exposed chloroplasts.

However, we can’t rule out the possibility that this Synula colony is in the course of cell division. This is because careful observation reveals that the tip of cytoplasm surrounding the chloroplasts has become dented, suggesting that division might initiate.

In this video, it is very difficult to tell exactly what is occurring: is it cell division; are contents of a dead cell being discharged; or is a damaged flagellate being ejected from the colony after colliding with something? When Synula’s colony is disintegrated into single cells, these cells cannot be distinguished from single Mallomonas cells that are not part of a colony.

Sampling Date : 03 July 2009

Sampling Site : Hirose River B  Google Map

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