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Oligohymenophorea

Oligohymenophorea
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Protista
Phylum:Ciliophora
Class:Oligohymenophorea
Typical orders
Subclass Peniculia
    Peniculida
Subclass Hymenostomatia
    Hymenostomatida
Subclass Scuticociliatia[?]
    Philasterida
    Pleuronematida
    Thigmotrichida
Subclass Astomatia[?]
    Astomatida
Subclass Apostomatia[?]
    Apostomatida
    Astomatophorida
    Pilisuctorida
Subclass Peritrichia
    Sessilida
    Mobilida

The Oligohymenophorea are a large class of ciliate protozoa. There is typically a ventral groove containing the mouth and distinct oral cilia, separate from those of the body. These include a paroral membrane to the right of the mouth and membranelles, usually three in number, to its left. The cytopharynx is inconspicuous and never forms the complex cyrtos found in similar classes. Body cilia generally arise from monokinetids, with dikinetids occuring in limited distribtution over part of the body.

In most groups the body cilia are uniform and often dense, while the oral cilia are inconspicuous and sometimes reduced, but among the Peritrichia almost the opposite is the case. Members are widely distributed, and include many free-living (typically fresh-water, but many marine) and symbiotic forms. Most are microphagous, grazing on smaller organisms swept into the mouth by the cilia, but various other feeding habits occur. In one subclass, the Astomatia[?], the mouth and associated structures have been lost altogether.

The class was first defined by de Puytorac in 1974 as one of three, together with the Polyhymenophora (comprising the spirotrichs) and the now abandoned Kinetofragmophora. Since then the Apostomatia[?] have been added, but otherwise its composition has remained relatively constant, with the main variations being the position of the Peniculida and of the Plagiopylida.



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