WAR  of  the  MICROWORLDS  

How do I kill Thee?   Let me count the Ways!   (# 38)  click here for full list

(Images from Mycoalbum CD)

Zoopage: Amoebae (rhizopods) can be at very high populations in soils, organic debris, ponds etc.  Also, they are pretty slow moving and their physical musculature is very limited; not much more than enough actomyosin (contractile protein) to creep about at less than a snail's pace.   It is to be expected, therefore, that amoebae would be excellent fodder for predatory fungi.  It proved to be the case, and the indefatigable Charles Drechsler described a large number of fungi in diverse genera that predated amoebae.  Amongst these was a genus called Zoopage. When an amoeba touches the hypha of  Zoopage it bonds on contact.  The amoeba is held fast and rounds off immediately.   Amoebae are captured in such large numbers that the hyphae of the fungus is often obscured.  The fungus penetrates the plasma mebrane by means of a lobed or heart-shaped haustorium that controls the nutrient fow from the amoeba to the fungus.   Eventually all that remains of the amoeba is an empty shell.  Drechsler found sexual reproduction was by zygospores and Zoopage belongs in the Zygomycota.

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Left: Amoeba (white arrow) is moving due east          Centre:  It touches Zoopage hypha at point x      Right:  It is captured and 'rounds off 'immediately

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Left: Recent captures of amoebae by Zoopage show that, at this stage, the amoebae seem fairly healthy with active protoplasm and functional contractile vacuoles.   Right: The heart-shaped or lobed haustorium invaginates the host's plasma membrane and controls nutrient flow from the amoeba to the fungus.   In this case the amoeba has been consumed and its membrane has broken away to expose the haustorium.