These vorticella were collected from a pond in Flagstaff, Arizona.


  • How does this single-celled ciliate move?
  • Can you think of other types of movement that are similar to the ones you see here?
  • For what reasons do you think this critter needs to move out and then rapidly pull back in?
  • How does this ciliate's movement compare to other single-celled organisms?
  • How are the cilia (the tiny hair-like fibers) arranged on the organism?
  • Each vorticella is shaped like a sphere on a retractable tube. What is the advantage of such a shape?
  • Can you find any cycles in the video? How do these cycles compare to other cycles you know about?
  • What else can you find out about this critter?


Vorticella comes from the Greek roots: vor and cell.

vor- means: eat, consume

cell means: to rise or to project.

So, vorticella means a critter that projects itself outward to eat.

More Information:

Go to the ciliates page for more information on these organisms.


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