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CILIOPHORA

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((Doflein, 1901) Copeland, 1956 )

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  • General Description
  • General Description

    Ciliates are unicellular eukaryotes (protozoans) that are characterised by the presence of an outer covering of hair-like cilia which are used for locomotion, attachment, feeding and sensation. They have two nuclei, the small diploid micronucleus involved in reproduction and the larger macronucleus involved in general cell processes. Under the classification scheme proposed for the protozoa by Cavalier-Smith (2003), the ciliates are classified as a phylum, the Ciliophora, within the infrakingdom Alveolata. Alveolates possess cortical alveoli or related structures – systems of membrane-bound sacs lying beneath the plasma membrane and performing structural roles or giving rise to external coverings such as the pellicles in ciliates or the thecal plates in dinoflagellates.  As well as the ciliates, this diverse group includes familiar taxa such as the dinoflagellates and the apicomplexans. It is well supported by molecular as well as morphological data (Baldauf et al., 2000).

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