world of amoeboid organisms

Difflugia scalpellum
D. scalpellum, the drawing to the left is from Penard (1899)

Difflugia scalpellum Penard, 1899
Synonym: D. smilion Thomas, 1953

Diagnosis: Shell bilateral symmetrical, cylindrical, gradually swelling from the aperture for about two-thirds of the body length to the broadest diameter and then tapering in the last third of the body length to a bluntly or sharply, asymmetrically shaped apex. Test composed of quartz particles and diatom frustules, giving it the appearance of a regular smooth surface. Aperture usually circular. Nucleus vesicular with central nucleolus.

Dimensions: Penard (1899): 260-300 µm, in one place the average length was 220-230 µm; Penard (1902): average length 250 µm, length up to 300 µm; my measurements: 212-263 µm.

Ecology: Freshwater. Penard found this species only in deep lakes, at a depth of 30-100 m. I found it in ditches and ponds, also between sphagnum.

Remarks: The structure of the nucleus, vesicular, is quite remarkable for such a large species. All other known large Difflugia species have ovular nuclei, as far as we know. This species was described and pictured by Ogden as Difflugia venusta Penard 1902, but his photomicrographs are quite different from Penards drawing and description.

Difflugia scalpellum
These shells were prepared by Penard and labeled as “Difflugia scalpellum” (image from Mazei and Warren, 1912).
Difflugia scalpellum
D. scalpellum, Pénard Collection, Geneva – Photograph by Thierry Arnet, as part of the Pénard project. The cytoplasm is stained with borax-carmine (red color).
Difflugia scalpellum
Difflugia scalpellum, from Penard 1899 (15-16) and 1902 (1-7)
Difflugia scalpellum
D. scalpellum, living specimens, length about 260 µm, filled with preyed diatoms; Naardermeer, Netherlands
Difflugia scalpellum
D. cf scalpellum, China
Difflugia scalpellum
Difflugia cf scalpellum (from China, length 212-242 µm)
Ferry Siemensma, created February 24, 2019; last modified July 05, 2021
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