Diagnostic characters: Attached or unattached forma of peritrichous ciliates in which the adoral zone seen from above forms a right-wound spiral. A secondary circlet of cilia around the posterior end may be present either permanently or periodically.
1. Posterior ciliated girdle 3
permanent around an attaching disk
2. Posterior ciliated girdle, 4
temporary during motile stage
3. Body cylindrical:
(a) With ring of stiff bristles
above the ciliated girdle
(b) Without accessory ring of
bristles; with velum
Body conical; general
4. No test and no stalk Genus Scyphidia
5. No test; with stalk containing 8
6. No test; with stalk but without Genus
7. With a test; with or without Genus
8. Individuals solitary Genus *_Vorticella_
entire colony contractile
Individuals colonial; parts
only of the colony contractile
* Presence at Woods Hole indicated by asterisk.
(Bell Animalcule Leeuwenhoek 1675; Ehrenberg ’38; Dujardin ’41; Stein ’51; Cl. & Lach. ’58; Greeff ’70; Buetschli ’88; Kent ’81; Stokes ’88; etc.)
Medium-sized ciliates of general bell-like form. They may be colorless, or yellow and green through the presence of Zoochlorella. When not contracted, the peristome end is widespread, rarely narrowed. The adoral zone and peristome agree with the details given in the family characteristics. The chief character is the attachment of the posterior end by means of a single, longer or shorter, stalk, which contains a highly contractile thread easily distinguished in the living animal. Another character is the absence of colony formation. Contractile vacuole, single or double, usually connected with a sac-like reservoir. The macronucleus is invariably long and band-formed, with attached micronucleus. Fresh and salt water.
So many species of Vorticella have been described that the task of collecting data and of arranging the synonyms is extremely irksome and difficult. Stokes enumerates 66 species, inhabiting fresh and salt water, and several other new species have been added since his work. I am impressed with the fact that new species have been created without proper regard for the manifold variations which nearly all of the Ciliata show, and I believe the 66 species might be safely reduced to 12 or 15.