Hall, Richard P. University of California, Los Angeles, California.
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Protozoa forming a subclass of Rhizopodea with obscure relationships to rest of the class. There is one order, Labyrinthulida (see illustration). The mostly marine, ovoid to spindle-shaped, uninucleate organisms secrete a network of filaments (slime tubes) along which they glide, usually singly at rates of 4–150 micrometers/min. This network inspired the name “net slime molds” sometimes applied to them. The mechanism of locomotion is unknown. The unique Labyrinthula minuta may move for about 20 μm, then stop, and later move again, either forward or backward. The slime filaments, which show an amorphous matrix, may or may not be tubular within a single culture. Individual organisms may move within or along the outside of a slime tube and occasionally may leave the track. A thin pellicle permits changes in diameter, but pseudopodia and phagotrophy have not been seen.
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