Radiolarian Fine Structure and Silica Deposition

  • O. R. Anderson


Radiolaria are marine protozoans belonging to the class Sarcodina, which includes Amebae, Heliozoa, Foraminifera, and other rhizopod- bearing organisms (Chap. 9). They are largely floating, planktonic organisms carried by ocean currents, but some species migrate vertically in the water column apparently by expanding or contracting the bubblelike alveoli in their external cytoplasm (Fig. 13–1), hence regulating their buoyancy (Gamble, 1909; Anderson, 1976c). At least one species, Sticholonche zanclea Hertwig, is fully motile, propelling itself by means of oarlike appendages (Hollande et al., 1967; Cachon et al., 1977). Radiolaria prey upon a variety of Zooplankton and phytoplank- ton organisms, including ciliates, small Crustacea, and some species of diatoms and dinoflagellates, by snaring them within a sticky halo of rhizopodia (Anderson, 1976a, 1978b). Their skeleton, where present, is composed of amorphous silica forming a remarkable array of delicate and often esthetically pleasing, symmetrical shapes (Chap. 1). In modern taxonomic systems, the silica-bearing Radiolaria are separated from the Acantharia, which possess strontium sulfate skeletons.


Break Spine Silica Deposition Algal Symbiont Silica Skeleton Radiolarian Skeleton 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1981

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  • O. R. Anderson

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