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Definition of Vorticella
Vorticella (Latin, vortex, a whirlpool) is a ciliate protozoan organism having a bell-shaped body. Therefore, it is aptly known as the bell animalcule. The body of vorticella is shaped like a solid inverted bell. To the base of the body is attached a long contractile stalk.Only the free end of the bell bears cilia arranged in a whirlpool manner. The long and highly contractile stalk that attaches the bell-shaped body of vorticella to the substratum, is devoid of cilia.
Habitat of Vorticella
Vorticella is very common and is often found in freshwater ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, etc. Several individuals often occur socially in large groups attached by their stalks to the aquatic plants, animals, stones, etc. Vorticella is solitary in nature. Individuals occur in large social groups but are never colonial. Under certain unfavorable conditions, an individual of the vorticella group may grow a ring of cilia (now, this individual vorticella is called a telotroch), breaks loose from its stalk, and swims away and gets attached to a favorable spot by growing a new stalk.
Reproduction in Vorticella
Reproduction takes place both asexually and sexually. The asexual reproduction occurs by the process of longitudinal binary fission. The sexual reproduction occurs by the process of conjugation. The longitudinal binary fission divides parent individual into two daughter individuals of unequal size. Larger daughter individual retains the stalk of the parent vorticella while smaller daughter individual is produced without a stalk. The smaller daughter individual acquires cilia, becomes cylindrical, and gets separated from the larger one. It is now called a telotroch, and it swims away with the help of cilia. Telotroch secretes a stalk, gets fixed to the substratum, and finally metamorphosis into an adult vorticella.
Examples of Vorticella (Species of Vorticella)
The examples of species of genus Vorticella include Vorticella campanula (V. campanula), Vorticella microstoma (V. microstoma), Vorticella nebulifera (V. nebulifera), etc.