Hi Josh, those are very good points. My thinking here was that the blue spot is pretty distinctive, so this was likely to be a compressed specimen, similar to this one posted by Michael Plewka (of Plingfactory fame):
) He is a careful observer, but certainly not infallible (I've found a few oddities on his site!), so his specimen might not be a useful data point regarding morphological variation in the genus.
The specimen shown by Foissner et al in the 4-vol "Atlas" also has a broad appearance, though more pyriform (and with a better view of the multiple CVs):
However, it may also be that there's a different nasse/cyrtos-bearing ciliate with a blue pigment spot that I'm not aware of...or one that hasn't been documented at all! Another oddity of this one, is the relatively large size of the oral "basket." To be sure of where this belongs in the ciliate tree we'd really need to see whether it has a "hypostomial frange" in what Deroux calls "the Nassulopsis pattern" (completely encircling the cell). I didn't see the frange at all (or any kind of preoral suture) when I watched the video last night, but will look at it again to see if I missed it. (ETA: just watched again, and I can see the outside edge of the frange--that little tuft that appears from time to time on the margin of the cell near the mouth. But the camera doesn't focus on that structure at any point, so we're unable to see how far it goes).
is not in class Nassophorea, presently, but in Phyllopharyngea, subclass Cyrtophoria, order Synhymeniida (along with Zosterodasys
). So, if we're being very scrupulous about identification, and we happen to suspect this fellow might be a blue-spotted nassulid (e.g. Nassula
), then we couldn't go any lower than subphylum Intramacronucleata...which, of course, contains most ciliate species, apart from the heterotrichs and karyorelicteans!
I didn't do a search on blue-spotted nassulids, incidentally...could be I'm just not aware of one that would fit this critter perfectly! If not, it could also be a new, undescribed extra-chubby species of Nassulopsis
. So far, the genus only has the one species, I think, but there may be some unnoticed diversity within it (whether "sp.", "subsp." or "var"!)