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A flagellate is an organism with one or more whip-like organelles called . Some cells in may be flagellate, for instance the of most . do not produce flagellate cells, but , , , some gymnosperms and other closely related plants do. Likewise, most do not produce cells with flagellae, but the primitive fungal do. Many take the form of single-celled flagellates.

The word flagellate describes a particular construction of organism and its means of motion. The term does not imply any specific relationship or classification of the organisms that possess flagellae. However, the term "flagellate" is included in other terms (such as "" and "") which often are more formally characterized.


Form and behavior
Eukaryotic flagella are supported by in a characteristic arrangement, with nine fused pairs surrounding two central singlets. These arise from a . In some flagellates, flagella direct food into a or mouth, where food is ingested. Flagella often support hairs, called , or contain rods. Their ultrastructure plays an important role in classifying .

In protoctists and microscopic animals, a flagellate is an organism with one or more whip-like organelles called flagella. Some cells in animals may be flagellate, for instance the spermatozoa of most phyla. Flowering plants do not produce flagellate cells, but ferns, mosses, green algae, some gymnosperms and other closely related plants do. Likewise, most fungi do not produce cells with flagellae, but the primitive fungal chytrids do. Many protists take the form of single-celled flagellates.

Flagella are generally used for propulsion. They may also be used to create a current that brings in food. In most things, one or more flagella are located at or near the anterior of the cell e.g. . Often there is one directed forwards and one trailing behind. Among animals, fungi, and Choanozoa, which make up a group called the , there is a single posterior flagellum. They are from the phylum Mastigophora. They can cause diseases and they can make their own food. They reproduce by binary fission.They spend most of their existence moving or feeding. Many parasites that affect human health or economy are flagellates. Flagellates are the major consumers of primary and secondary production in aquatic ecosystems - consuming bacteria and other protists.


Flagellata or Mastigophora
In older classifications, some were grouped in Flagellata (or Mastigophora), sometimes divided in Phytoflagellata (Phytomastigina) and Zooflagellata (Zoomastigina). They were sometimes grouped with (ameboids) in .

Modern classifications place these example genera into the following groups (see ):

, , Zoomastigina
Zoomastigina
Zoomastigina
, , , , Zoomastigina
 >  > Zoomastigina
,  > Zoomastigina
 > Phytomastigina
 > Phytomastigina
,  > Phytomastigina
,  >  > Phytomastigina
, ,  >  > Phytomastigina
 > Phytomastigina


External links
  • The Flagellates. Unity, diversity and evolution. Ed.: Barry S. C. Leadbeater and J. C. Green Taylor and Francis, London 2000.

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