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Morphology and Reproduction

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Chapter Summary

The main characteristic of desmids is their specific method of sexual reproduction. However, also the morphology of the vegetative cell is peculiar, for marked by a symmetrical appearance which distinguishes them from other algal groups. Most striking is a longitudinal symmetry: the horizontal plane divides the cell in two halves mirroring each other. In the family Desmidiaceae, this partitioning in equal halves is marked by a median constriction of the cell, termed the 'sinus'. The area of the cell where the semicells are mutually connected is called the 'isthmus'. In addition to a longitudinal symmetry desmid cells are also marked by a radiate symmetry: through the longitudinal axis two or more planes of symmetry may be drawn. In top-view a desmid cell is geometric in shape: an ellipse as in the genus Cosmarium, a triangle to polygon as in the genus Staurastrum, or a circle as in the genus Penium.

Keywords: algal groups; Cosmarium; Desmidiaceae; Penium; sexual reproduction; Staurastrum



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