WAR  of  the  MICROWORLDS  

How do I kill Thee?   Let me count the Ways!   (# 15)   click here for full list

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  The spores of Helicocephalum are very large.  In this species they measure around 40 x 25 microns.    Spores lie dormant in the environment and will only germinate in response to specific chemical triggers.    The spore is thick walled but has  thin spots (germ pores) at the ends that allow it to monitor chemical signals in the external environment.   After germination, the large energy reserves stored in the spore allow the fungus to develop an extensive system of very fine hyphae (circa 2 um diam).    During this growth phase the hyphae will respond to specific chemical signals released by the eggs of  nematodes.   A hypha grows towards the egg, attaches to the shell by means of a swollen appressorium, penetrates the shell, fills the egg with assimilative hyphae and consumes the contents.  The biology of this Helicocephalum is very similar to that of  Rhopalomyces species that  attack eggs of nematodes and rotifers. ZYGOMYCOTA.

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