Volvox

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Volvox aureus
Volvox carteri (V. nagariensis)
Volvox globator
Volvox barberi
Volvox rouseletti
Volvox dissipatrix
Volvox tertius

Volvox is a genus of chlorophytes, a type of green algae. It forms spherical colonies of up to 50,000 cells. They live in a variety of freshwater habitats, and were first reported by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1700. Volvox developed its colonial lifestyle 200 million years ago.

Contents

Description

Volvox is the most developed in a series of genera that form spherical colonies.[1] Each mature Volvox colony is composed of numerous flagellate cells similar to Chlamydomonas, up to 50,000 in total,[2] and embedded in the surface of a hollow sphere or coenobium containing an extracellular matrix[2] made of a gelatinous glycoprotein.[3] The cells swim in a coordinated fashion, with distinct anterior and posterior poles. The cells have eyespots, more developed near the anterior, which enable the colony to swim towards light. The individual algae in some species are interconnected by thin strands of cytoplasm, called protoplasmates.[4]

Reproduction

An asexual colony includes both somatic (vegetative) cells, which do not reproduce, and gonidia near the posterior, which produce new colonies through repeated division. The daughter colonies are initially held within the parent coenobium and have their flagella directed inwards. Later, the parent disintegrates and the daughters invert. In sexual reproduction two types of gametes are produced. Volvox species can be monoecious or dioecious. Male colonies release numerous microgametes, or sperm, while in female colonies single cells enlarge to become oogametes, or eggs.[1][5]

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