Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Paramecium trichium varies from 50 μ to 105 μ long with most individuals between 80 μ and 90 μ. The width varies from one-third to one-half the length. It is somewhat depressed dorsoventrally. The broad buccal groove extends from the anterior left border diagonally across the ventral surface to the mouth, which is usually slightly anterior to the middle and to the right side of the median line. The mouth leads into a relatively long cytopharynx containing an undulating membrane. The cytopyge is subterminal and the small caudal tuft of longer cilia is subapical. The plastic ectosarc contains numerous trichocysts. A contractile vacuole apparatus occurs near either end. Each is deeply located and stains more intensely than surrounding protoplasm. In life there appear to be two alternately contracting vacuoles with smaller ones adjacent. Contractions are from fifteen to twenty-five per minute. The macronucleus is medium in size and the single micronucleus is of the ‘caudatum’ type.Binary fission appears to be initiated by a metaphase-like condition of the micronucleus. This is followed by great enlargement and the eventual separation of the chromatin threads into two anaphase groups. The metaphase thus appears to precede the changes which correspond to a prophase in other cases. During division of the body, the two old contractile vacuoles persist as the posterior ones for the daughters, new anterior ones being developed.
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