Abstract

Vorticella convallaria is a ciliated protozoan found in freshwater habitats. In the sessile or stalked trophont form, V. convallaria is shaped somewhat like a balloon as it has a body or zooid (the head of the balloon) that is about 40 μm large with cilia around its oral part, and a stalk (the string of a balloon) anchoring the zooid to a solid surface. When a trophont zooid of V. convallaria detached from the stalk, the zooid swims around in water by creating water flow using its oral cilia. In contrast to the stalk contraction of V. convallaria that has been well studied, the swimming motility of V. convallaria is little known. In this study, we measured the swimming trajectories of the stalkless trophont zooid of V. convallaria using video microscopy and Hele-Shaw cells with a gap height of 25 μm, traced the swimming zooid using image processing, and analyzed the swimming motion in terms of swimming velocity and mean square displacement. The stalkless trophont zooid of V . convallaria was found to swim in circular patterns with intermittent ballistic motions in the confinement, and the average swimming speed ranged from 20 μm/s to 110 μm/s. Since the swimming pattern of V. convallaria appeared to be affected by the level of confinement, we will continue characterizing the ciliate’s swimming in the Hele-Shaw cell with different gap heights. Our study is expected to reveal the swimming motility of V. convallaria and to advance general understanding of swimming of microorganisms.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.