Carnivory and active hunting by the planktonic testate amoeba Difflugia tuberspinifera
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Difflugia tuberspinifera, a testate amoeba found in the open water plankton of Liuxi He and other south Chinese reservoirs during summer, is one of six or more species that occasionally live a pelagic life. Here, we suggest that its incentive to leave the bottom might be the abundance of food in the water column rather than temperature. This Difflugia (and perhaps the other pelagic species as well) is indeed an actively hunting carnivore that catches small rotifers and other prey in the same size range. In Liuxi He, it readily feeds on Collotheca cf. mutabilis, which it catches and consumes with remarkable agility: it first inspects the jelly tube that protects the prey, then moves to the bottom of it, perforates the jelly near the prey’s foot, and finally ingests the rotifer foot-first.