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Peniculida

Peniculida
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Protista
Phylum:Ciliophora
Class:Oligohymenophorea
Order:Peniculida
Typical families
Suborder Frontoniina
    Clathrostomatidae
    Frontoniidae
    Lembadionidae
    Maritujidae
    Stokesiidae
Suborder Parameciina
    Parameciidae
    Neobursaridiidae
    Urocentridae

The Peniculida are an order of ciliate protozoa, included in the class Oligohymenophorea. Most are relatively large, freshwater forms that feed on smaller organisms swept into the mouth. They have simple life cycles, and in many cases do not even form resting cysts. The well-known genus Paramecium belongs here.

Typically the body has uniform, dense cilia, which also cover a vestibule preceding the mouth. Extrusomes are characteristically in the form of spindle trichocysts, which release thread-like shafts, and never mucocysts. The oral cilia include peniculi, corresponding to the membranelles of related groups, arranged parallel to the mouth deep in the oral cavity. Nematodesmata (rods) arise from the bases of the oral or perioral cilia, but these do not support a cyrtos as in some other classes. Two suborders are recognised:

  • The Frontoniina typically have a shallow oral cavity, with a long paroral membrane and denser somatic kineties to the right of the mouth. These are called ophryokineties, and take part in forming the new mouth during cell division.

  • The Parameciina typically have a deeper oral cavity, with peniculi mainly forward of the mouth, and the paroral membrane reduced, though still present throughout interphase.

The Peniculids were first defined by Fauré-Fremiet in Corliss, 1956, as one of three suborders of hymenostomes. The two suborders above were introduced by Small & Lynn in 1985. They considered the peniculids in the class Nassophorea, owing to ultrastructural peculiarities such as the presence of nematodesmata, which was considered to indicate the cyrtos was secondarily absent. However, more recent schemes reverse this move.



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