Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Morphology: Shapes And Forms !

drawing of parts of dinoflagellate

[Hypotheca | Epitheca | Sulcum | Horns | Nucleus]

Click on the picture to find out more about the different body parts, or click any of the words below the image. This photo is also available full size.

Labeled diagram

Dinoflagellates come in many different shapes and sizes. They are rarely lager than a quarter of a millimeter and are often much much smaller. A single individual can drastically change in shape and size during its life history. Two whipping tails help dinoflagellates swim, but ocean currents are too strong for them to swim against. Most dinoflagellates have the same insides as a plant cell and can photosynthesize.

To learn about the different body parts of a dinfolagellate look at the picture below.

structure of dinoflagellate

Hard outer covering, a lot like a midieval knight's plate-mail armor
The top half of the shell above the girdle, or sulcum
The bottom half of the shell, below the girdle
Sulcum (also: sulcul groove, girdle)
A groove that runs around the middle of the organism like a belt. In this groove is a ribbon-like whip, or flagellum, that waves to move the dinoflagellate foreward
Cingulum (also: cingular groove)
A groove that runs vertically down the organism. It usually runs from the apex (top) down, and a long, whip-like tail extends from the bottom. This flagellum waves too.
These are the long stems you see coming off the bottom and top of the organism. They may help to direct the dinoflagellate through the water.
This is the large gold clump you see in the picture at the top of the page. This is the center of the dinoflagellate; the factory that keeps the cell alive.

 Main  Dinoflagellate Index

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Copyright Josh Rapport 1996

Main  Dino Index

Back To Main Menu | students Other Student Pages | Photographs | Glossary

Copyright Josh Rapport 1996

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009