Lieberkuehnia wageneri


Lieberkuehnia wageneri - after Martin Mrva, 2009.


At this moment -2017- we are sequencing some strains of species which resemble Lieberkuehnia species. However, the first results suprisingly show that the strains are less related than we expected based on their morphology.

In 2009 Martin Mrva published a description of L. wageneri. This description appears to be a compilation of all known descriptions of L. wageneri. Based on our recent research, we now know that there are different species that appear morphologically similar to L. wageneri, but are genetically different. One indication is the presence of nuclei with different structures in different types. Penard already noted the difference between L. wageneri and L. paludosa in the structure of the nuclei. Mvra has found three specimens in moss in Slovakia and describes their nuclei as spherical with a central nucleolus.


Diagnosis: Test flexible and membranous with ovoid, ellipsoidal or pyriform shape, length 32-900 µm. Single terminal aperture with internal septum separating pseudopodial peduncle from the internal cytoplasm. Large pseudopodial network, 350-1800 µm and more in extent, emerging from the peduncle and from the thin layer of cytoplasm enveloping the test. Cytoplasm sometimes yellowish or greenish, multinucleate, with 30-200 vesicular nuclei with up to three nucleoli. Numerous contractile vacuoles and food vacuoles. Reproduction by binary and multiple fission.


Dimensions: Size of this organism varies enormously in literature. Claparède et Lachman: c. 160 µm (n=1); Penard (1902): 96 µm (n=1); Penard (1907): 32-200 µm; Awerinzew: 6-900 µm; Wailes 60-160 µm; De Saedeleer 60-75 µm (n=1); Hoogenraad & De Groot (1940): 150-175 µm; Mrva (2009) 66-70 µm (n=3).

It is clear that these measurements are from genetically very different taxa.


Ecology: on algae in freshwater and marine habitats, in submerged mosses and moss. Europe.


Remarks: Differs from Lieberkuehnia paludosa Cienkowski, 1876, in the appearance of cytoplasm and the number and type of nuclei. In L. paludosa the cytoplasm is opaque and filled with many small granules and possesses a single nucleus or up to 30 nuclei with numerous endosomes.


Mrva (2009) describes his observations as follows: Three specimens from mosses growing on soil in the Male Karpaty Mountains were examined. The test was ovoid or ellipsoidal, smooth, membranous, flexible, thin and transparent, so cytoplasm was clearly visible through it. The length of the test was 66-70 µm, breadth 47-52 µm. The single aperture was clearly visible and its position was terminal.

The colorless cytoplasm of the cell body was continually streaming or circulating. It was finely granular with about 30 spherical indistinct nuclei, about 4 µm in diameter, each one having a central nucleolus. There were up to three contractile vacuoles localized in various parts of the cell. From the cell body, a bent peduncular pseudopodial trunk, which was connected asymmetrically with the body, projected outwards. The trunk was separated from the internal space of the test by a distinct septum about 20 µm long. From the pseudopodial peduncle arose a thin layer of cytoplasm partially enveloping the external surface of the test near the aperture, where it also formed an expanded base for the pseudopodial network. The pseudopodia emerged mainly from the pseudopodial trunk but also from various parts of the cytoplasmic coat on the test. Pseudopodia were 56-181 µm long, slightly broader at the base, of irregular shape, for most of their length very thin, and occasionally displaying areas of broader lamella-like cytoplasm. They showed the typical rapid bidirectional streaming of fine granules that were clearly visible with phase contrast optics. The lamelliform parts of pseudopodia were up to 30 µm long and were filled with granular cytoplasm, containing 1-3 small vacuoles or vesicles, probably food vacuoles. Numerous branching and anastomosing pseudopodia with many connections formed a broad pseudopodial network of circular shape around the test. The diameter of this network was about 350 µm. Neither resting stages nor reproduction was observed.


References: Mrva, M. : Re-discovery of Lieberkuehnia wageneri Claparède et Lachmann, 1859 (Rhizaria, Foraminifera): Taxonomical and Morphological Studies Based on a Slovak Population - Acta Protozool. (2009) 48: 111-117.


Lieberkuehnia wageneri
Lieberkuehnia wageneri - Original drawing Hoogenraad & De Groot, 1940, collection Ferry Siemensma