Mixotrophic scrippsielloid dinoflagellates prey on tintinnid ciliates

D. Wayne Coats*, Jungmin Choi, Jae Ho Jung, Young Ok Kim, Yameng Lu, Lasse Tor Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Dinoflagellates can serve as predators or parasites of tintinnid ciliates. Known predators feed on the ciliate from outside the tintinnid lorica, while parasites either grow in the host cytoplasm or feed inside in the lorica while attached to the outside of the host cell. Here we report mixotrophic species of Scrippsiella that enter the lorica to consume the ciliate zooid of Helicostomella subulata from Denmark and multiple tintinnid species from Korea. We contrast morphology and life-history stages of these mixotrophic predators with dinokaryote parasites of tintinnids and address phylogenetic relationships based on rDNA sequences. Mixotrophic Scrippsiella species sometimes attack tintinnids that are simultaneously infected by syndinean dinoflagellates, complicating study of life histories and potentially leading to confusion about trophic status and taxonomy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Ecosystem Health & Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Dinokaryote
  • Parasite
  • Predator
  • Phylogeny
  • Scrippsiella
  • Syndinean

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