Patterson, David J. Department of Zoology, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
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An order of the Heliozoia. There is a central cell mass from which thin stiff arms radiate. The arms are supported internally by arrays of microtubules which terminate internally on a central granule, the centroplast, and the nucleus has an eccentric position. In the majority of species, the body is coated with a layer of siliceous spines or spicules and measures from 20 to 50 micrometers. These organisms are found in freshwater and marine habitats, feeding on other protozoa, which adhere to the arms after colliding with them. In addition to about five genera which certainly are closely related (of which Acanthocystis and Raphidiophrys are among the most widely represented; see illustration), the group contains a variety of other Heliozoia of uncertain affinities. See also: Actinopodea; Heliozoia; Protozoa; Sarcodina
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