Oxyrrhis F.Dujardin, 1841
Holotype species: Oxyrrhis marina Dujardin
Original publication and holotype designation: Dujardin, F. (1841). Histoire naturelle des Zoophytes, Infusoires, comprenant la physiologie et la clasification de ces animaux et la manière de les étudier à l'aide du microscope. pp. i-xii, 1-684. Paris: Librarie Encyclopédique de Roret.
Taxonomic status: currently recognized as a distinct genus.
Most recent taxonomic treatment adopted: Kawai, H. & Nakayama, T. (2015). Introduction (Heterokontobionta p.p.), Cryptophyta, Dinophyta, Haptophyta, Heterokontophyta (except Coscinodiscophyceae, Mediophyceae, Fragilariophyceae, Bacillariophyceae, Phaeophyceae, Eustigmatophyceae), Chlorarachniophyta, Euglenophyta. In: Syllabus of plant families. Adolf Engler's Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien. Ed. 13. Phototrophic eukaryotic Algae. Glaucocystophyta, Cryptophyta, Dinophyta/Dinozoa, Haptophyta, Heterokontophyta/Ochrophyta, Chlorarachnniophyta/Cercozoa, Chlorophyta, Streptophyta p.p. (Frey, W. Eds), pp. 11-189. Stuttgart: Borntraeger Science Publishers.
Description: Small (10-45 µm long) sub-ovoid, heterodynamic, biflagellate cells, unicellular but sometimes in pairs of two. The cell has a large asymmetric postero-ventral depression. Here a tentacle-like lobe originates, directed posteriorly. Cingulum and sulcus are missing. Cell wall smooth, thin without thecal cellulosic plates but with scales. Scales also present on the flagella. The subpellicular microtubular cytoskeleton differs from that of other dinoflagellates as all microtubules are oriented longitudinally and do not attach or abut transverse microtubular arrays. They occur in groups of three or four on the dorsal side but singly on the ventral side. The flagellar apparatus is asymmetric and extremely complex, consisting of a longitudinal and a transverse basal body that gives rise to eight structurally different compartments. Both flagella share the same cylindrical morphology and size. The posteriorly oriented longitudinal flagellum propagates helicoidal waves that push the cell forward whereas the transverse flagellum exhibits a beat pattern superimposed on a permanent corkscrew folding. Their beat frequencies are about 50 -60 Hz. The transverse flagellum contains a small fibre, 20 nm in diam., associated with doublet no. 7, whereas the longitudinal flagellum is sustained by a large (200-300 nm) hollow structure closely resembling the paraflagellar rod described for euglenids and kinetoplastids. The nucleus is of the dinokaryotic type with about 40 permanently condensed chromosomes but have much more histones than that of other dinoflagellates. During mitosis, dense plaques develop in the nuclear envelope at prophase and give rise to an intracellular spindle. Some of the microtubules associate with the chromosomes while others extend across the nucleus. The basal bodies migrate towards the poles early in division. Microtubules are not present between the nucleus and the basal bodies. Chromosomal separation is accomplished by sliding of non-chromosomal microtubules and by elongation of the nuclear envelope. Continued constriction of the envelope and elongation of the nucleus leads to the formation of a dumbbell-shaped nucleus by late telophase followed by the constriction into two daughter nuclei. Chloroplasts and stigma are absent, long trichocysts present. Cytoplasm appears in the light microscope refractive, the cells have a roseate to pink color. Nutrition is by phagotrophy, various preys are ingested. The prey is captured and engulfed, a Dunaliella primolecta Butcher cell digested in about 12 to 24 hrs. Several prey cells may be ingested . During digestion the prey first becomes more electron-dense and the contents coagulate. Later the prey disintegrates and the remains of several prey items may be enclosed in one food vacuole. The prymnesiophyte Isochrysis galbana Parke is a better food resulting in a higher growth rate than the diatom Phaeodactylum cornutum Bohlin. The degradation of the algal pigments is more slowly than the ingestion rate. Oxyrrhis is one of the few obligate heterotrophic dinoflagellates which can be cultivated without addition of particulate food. It has an absolute requirement for a quinone and one for a steroid. Spherical vegetative cysts, about 10 &m in diam., were produced in a tidal rhythm in a population living in a rock pool. Habitat: Marine, from brackish to hyperhaline; neritic in coastal waters with decaying organic material and in rock-pools. Develop very often in seawater aquaria. Apparently world-wide, except in polar waters. The systematic position of Oxyrrhis is under discussion. There is more and more evidence, that Oxyrrhis is an early divergence sister to the dinoflagellates and in a recent classification of the dinoflagellates (Fensome and others 1993) Oxyrrhis is excluded from this group, based on the type of mitosis and also the structure of the transverse flagellum. Also molecular genetic analysis apparently support the early divergence of Oxyrrhis (Lennaers and others 1991).
Information contributed by: M. Elbrächter. The most recent alteration to this page was made on 22 May 2017 by M.D. Guiry.
Numbers of names and species: There are 5 species names in the database at present, of which 2 have been flagged as accepted taxonomically on the basis of the listed literature under the species name. In some instances, opinions on taxonomic validity differ from author to author and users are encouraged to form their own opinion. AlgaeBase is a work in progress and should not be regarded as a definitive source only as a guide to the literature..
Names: ('C' indicates a name that is accepted taxonomically; 'S' a homotypic or heterotypic synonym; 'U' indicates a name of uncertain taxonomic status, but which has been subjected to some verification nomenclaturally; 'P' indicates a preliminary AlgaeBase entry that has not been subjected to any kind of verification. For more information on a species click on it to activate a link to the Species database):
Click here to also show infraspecific names in the list below.
Dodge, J.D. (1982). Marine dinoflagellates of the British Isles. pp. 1-303, 35 figs, pls I-VIII. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
Steidinger, K.A. & Tangen, K. (1996). Dinoflagellates. In: Identifying Marine Phytoplankton. (Tomas, C.R. Eds), pp. 387-584. San Diego: Academic Press.
Verification of data
Users are responsible for verifying the accuracy of information before use, as noted on the website Content page.
Some of the descriptions included in AlgaeBase were originally from the unpublished Encyclopedia of Algal Genera, organised in the 1990s by Dr Bruce Parker on behalf of the Phycological Society of America (PSA) and intended to be published in CD format. These AlgaeBase descriptions are now being continually updated, and each current contributor is identified above. The PSA and AlgaeBase warmly acknowledge the generosity of all past and present contributors and particularly the work of Dr Parker.
Descriptions of chrysophyte genera were subsequently published in J. Kristiansen & H.R. Preisig (eds.). 2001. Encyclopedia of Chrysophyte Genera. Bibliotheca Phycologica 110: 1-260.
Created: 06 September 2004 by M.D. Guiry
Verified by: 22 May 2017 by M.D. Guiry
Linking to this page: http://www.algaebase.org/search/genus/detail/?genus_id=44571
Please cite this record as:
M.D. Guiry in Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2019. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 20 January 2019.