Pteridomonas pulex (Penard, 1889)

Most likely ID: n.a.


Synonym: n. a.


Sampling location: Simmelried


Phylogenetic tree: Pteridomonas pulex



  • body spherical, sometimes pentagonal or hexagonal
  • length 7–10 µm, width 9–12 µm
  • one anterior flagellum, 2–5 times of body length
  • one ring of fine pseudopodia around the base of the anterior flagellum
  • posterior a thin stalk, trailing behind or attached to the substrate
  • one spherical nucleus in mid-body
  • 2–3 contractile vacuoles near surface
Pteridomonas pulex

Pteridomonas pulex is a very small, colorless flagellate that is difficult to find in samples under the coverslip. It can be better observed on floating coverslips, on which Pteriodomonas pulex sometimes settles. The exact structure of the flagellate can only be seen at high magnification. At the base of the apical flagellum arises a ring of fine granulated pseudopodia (s. fig. 1b). This feature distinguishes Pteridomonas pulex from the similar species Actinomonas mirabilis (Kent, 1880), which has two such rings of pseudopodia. A fine stalk of cytoplasm arises from the posterior end of Pteridomonas pulex (s. fig. 1a). With this stalk the flagellate can attach itself to the substrate (or coverslip). In freely swimming specimens this stalk is sometimes be absent.


A virtually identical species  was found in saltwater  and described as Pteridomonas danica by Patterson and Fenchel (1985). I could not see any difference in the description of Pteridomonas danica from Pteridomonas pulex. Likely this flagellate occurs in both saltwater and freshwater and that it is finally the same species.


Fig. 1 a-b: Pteridomonas pulex. L = 6.8 µm. Two focal planes of a specimen attached to a floating coverslip. Note the ring of pseudopodia (RP) arising at the base of the flagellum (F). CV = contractile vacuole, Nu = nucleus, PP = pseudopodium, ST = stalk. Obj. 100 X.