The Amazing Tintinnid: A tiny zooplankton (Little Wonders)

drelayaraja By drelayaraja, 26th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Biology>Animal Biology

Tintinnids are micro-zooplankton found in marine and estuarine waters. I came across these little wonders during my doctoral research. I would like to share it with all.

What are these little wonders?

Tintinnids are ciliates protozoan belonging to the order Tintinnida. They are identified by vase-shaped shells called loricae made up of protein and contain pieces of minerals.
Tintinnids became abundant in the fossil record during the Jurassic. Tintinnids are an important part of the fossil record because the loricae of some tintinnids are easily preserved, giving them a relatively good fossil record.

Like other protists, tintinnids are single-celled organisms. Tintinnids are heterotrophic aquatic organisms. They feed primarily on photosynthetic algae and bacteria. They are part of the microzooplankton (between 20 and 200 micrometres in size).

The characteristics of their lorica, or shells, are used to distinguish between the roughly 500 species described. I identified about 30 species form the South Indian estuaries.

Their importance

Tintinnids are a important link in aquatic food chains as they are the ‘herbivores’ of the plankton. They feed on phytoplankton (algae and cyanobacteria) and in turn act as food for larger organisms such as copepods (small crustaceans) and larval fish.

Their swimming pattern is rather ‘jumpy’- or dancing- they are part of the ‘choreotrichs’, which means dancing hairs from their swimming behaviour and cilia. Though unseen, by the a naked eye, they contribute a lot to the food chain and marine ecosystem.



Esturay, Plankton, Protozoan, Tintinnids, Zooplankton

Meet the author

author avatar drelayaraja
I am an Instructional designer engaged in e-learning content development. I have a passion for photography and poetry.

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author avatar Carol
27th Jun 2010 (#)

Many thanks, you have a lot of knowledge, and thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Judith C Evans
27th Jun 2010 (#)

How interesting! Thanks for including the beautiful photos as well.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
28th Jun 2010 (#)

Very good info on an important part of the food chain.

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author avatar rajaryanme
28th Jun 2010 (#)

Very interesting and good details.

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author avatar Melinda Bocook
29th Jun 2010 (#)

I do like the pictures. I like what information we need more of understand of Tintinnid genera. To tell you the truth I didn't know they even exist but now I do. Thank you.

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author avatar leylucs
30th Jun 2010 (#)

nice share!

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author avatar Uttam Kumar
8th Mar 2017 (#)

Hi Doctor, can you please tell me the species name of the tintinnid of the first image-Tintinnids of south indian estuary. image no-f

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