Frontonia angusta (Kahl, 1931)

Most likely ID: n.a.

 

Synonym: n.a.

 

Sampling location: Simmelried 

 

Phylogenetic tree: Frontonia angusta

 

Diagnosis: 

  • body oval, moderately flattened, in cross section elliptical
  • cytoplasm colorless, without pigment spot at anterior end
  • length 80–130 µm, width 60–100 µm
  • one contractile vacuole in mid-body on right side, with 2–4 excretion pores
  • macronucleus ellipsoid, about 24 x 15 µm with a globose micronucleus located in an indentation of macronucleus
    fringe of spindle-shaped extrusomes, about 6 µm long
  • 80–105 longitudinal rows of cilia
  • tuft of elongated cilia at posterior end
  • pellicle quadrangular fielded
Frontonia-angusta
Frontonia angusta

Frontonia angusta is very similar to Frontonia acuminata. However, both species can be distinguished by a dark pigment spot in the apical area, which only Frontonia acuminata has. Since I could not discover a pigment spot, Frontonia angusta (s. fig. 1-b) must be present here. In Frontonia angusta a rather large micronucleus is attached to the macronucleus, which is located in an indentation of the macronucleus (s. fig. 2). There is only one contractile vacuole, which is located in the middle of the body on the right side (s. fig. 2). It should have 2 – 4 excretory pores. In my specimens there were always two (s. fig. 7). Since the number is variable in this species, it cannot be used as an identifier, but rather as an indication. However, there are also genera where the number of excretory pores is constant (e.g. Paramecium) and can be used as an identification characteristic. With higher magnification one recognizes the typical features of the mouth organization of Frontonia. The undulating membranelles and two of the three adoral membranelles can be seen (s. fig. 6 a-b). However, there is a special feature in Frontonia angusta, which is interestingly not mentioned by Foissner, but Kahl has described it: “…hinter dem Mund, links von der Naht ein kleines dreiseitiges Feld größerer, stark gerahmter Wimpernfeldchen (behind the mouth, to the left of the postoral suture a small three-sided field of framed cilia is visible)”. In fact, this specially shaped field is very recognizable (s. fig. 3 a-b). The purpose of this trigonal field remains uncertain. In Frontonia, there is a so-called preoral suture and a postoral suture. Both can only be seen when carefully focusing the ventral side (s. figs. 4 and 5). The postoral suture is shaped like a groin and is supposed to be a kind of predetermined breaking point of the pellicle according to Kahl. If very large food is ingested, the mouth opening along the suture can widen like a gap. However, I have never observed this process myself.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 1 a-b: Frontonia angusta. L = 110 µm. Two focal planes of a freely swimming specimen. CC = tuft of caudal cilia. Obj. 40 X.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 2: Frontonia angusta. L = 105 µm. A slightly squashed specimen from right. CV = contractile vacuole, Ma = macronucleus, Mi = micronucleus. Obj. 100 X.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 3 a-b: Frontonia angusta.  Focal plane on the triangular fielded area (TFA) below the mouth opening during reduction of the layer thickness. Obj. 100 X.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 4: Frontonia angusta. L = 118 µm. Focal plane on postoral suture (PoS). UM = undulating membranelles. Obj. 100 X.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 5: Frontonia angusta. L = 118 µm. The same specimen shown in fig. 3 with focal plane on the praeoral suture (PrS). Obj. 100 X.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 6 a-b: Frontonia angusta. Details of the mouth opening (a) compared to a drawing after Foissner (b). UM = undulating membranelles, AM 1–3 = adoral membranelles. Obj. 100 X.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 7: Frontonia angusta. Two excretion pores (EP) of the contractile vacuole on the right side in the middle of the cell. Obj. 100 X.

Frontonia-angusta

Fig. 8: Frontonia angusta. The spindle-shaped extrusomes (EX) are about 6 µm long. Obj. 100 X.