Corliss, John O. Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Last reviewed:June 2020
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A small specialized subclass of the protozoan class Ciliatea whose members were long considered entirely separate from the “true” ciliates. The sole order of this subclass is Suctorida. These forms show a number of highly specialized features. Most conspicuous are their tentacles, often numerous, which serve as mouths. These multiple organelles of ingestion fasten to the pellicle of prey organisms, generally passing ciliates. By forces not entirely understood, the tentacles are used to suck out the prey's protoplasm to provide sustenance for the suctorian. Nearly all species are stalked, and the sedentary, mature forms are devoid of any external ciliature. Young larval forms are produced by both endogenous and exogenous budding. These forms bear locomotor cilia and serve, as in the case of species of the Peritrichia, for dissemination (see illustration).
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