The majority of centrohelids bear external coverings consisting of organic spicules or siliceous scales. Cyst coverings are usually reinforced with additional layers of modified scales. The cyst wall of Raphidiophrys heterophryoidea has an unusual and complex structure. It consists of three different types of scales and includes the mosaic scale layer not known in other centrohelids. During excystment, the cyst wall fragments along the sutures of the mosaic layer. For other Raphidiophrys species, cyst coverings are not studied. The present paper describes a new Raphidiophrys species, R. elongata, belonging to the NC7 environmental clade. Trophozoites bore thin plate scales with reduced upper plate. Under starvation, cysts emerged in clonal cultures. Cyst coverings of R. elongata and R. heterophryoidea were studied in comparison with the use of FIB-SEM. Cyst wall of R. elongata was significantly thinner than in R. heterophryoidea and was formed with 3–5 layers of uniform overlapping scales. No mosaic scale layer was present. During excystment, trophozoite exited cyst shell through random fissure. Possible evolutionary events and driving forces behind the complication of cyst wall within Raphidiophrys were discussed.
Scopus subject areas
- Cell coverings