A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Vorticella
Higher order taxa:Eukaryota; Alveolata; Ciliophora; Oligohymenophorea; Peritrichia; Vorticellidae.
Description and Significance
Vorticella are members of the phylum Ciliophora. In some ways, they resemble members of the phylum Suctoria. However, there are major morphological differences between these two types of organisms. It is the unique structure of Vorticella that distinguishes them from other ciliates.
Like some other ciliates, Vorticella has a deviant genetic code. UAA, a traditional stop codon, instead translates for glutamate.
The small subunit rRNA (SSrRNA) gene has proved crucial for distinguishing between Vorticella species. Because different species are physically very similar, it is difficult to tell them apart by morphological characterstics alone. SSrRNA has proved a much more effective method of classification and identification.
Cell Structure and Metabolism
EcologyVorticella are aquatic organisms, most commonly found in freshwater habitats. They attach themselves to plant detritus, rocks, algae, or animals (particularly crustaceans). They are individual organisms, but often can be found in colonies. However, these are not true colonies, because each individual retains its own stalk. Vorticella are therefore free to separate from the colony at any time.
Itabashi, Takeshi, Kazuyuki Mikami, Jie Fang, and Hiroshi Asai. "Phylogenetic Relationships between Vorticella convallaria and Other Species Inferred from Small Subunit rRNA Gene Sequences." Zoological Science. 2002;19:931-937.