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Difflugia curvicaulis
D. curvicaulis, a-d from the same location, 378-428 µm long; e-f from another location, 263-266 µm long

Difflugia curvicaulis Penard, 1899

Diagnosis: Shell tubular, narrowing from the fundus to the aperture, usually transparent, colorless or brown, with a distinct aboral horn, often curved and sometimes perforated at the apex; test usually with smooth outline, composed of small and medium sized pieces of flat quartz and fragments of diatoms, embedded in an organic cement which forms a regular network; irregular thicker pieces of quartz as common in most other Difflugia species, are rare. Aperture circular, surrounded by regular arrangement of small particles. Nucleus spherical, with some irregularly shaped nucleoli laying close to the nuclear membrane.

Dimensions: Penard 170-200 µm (without horn); Length 146-232 µm; my measurements: 197-428 µm (including horn); nucleus 25-27 µm, nucleoli c. 6-8 µm.

Ecology: Freshwater; sediments of ditches and lakes.

Remarks: According to Penard (1899) D. curvicaulis differs from D. acuminata and D. elegans in the smoothness of the shell and the curved aboral horn. This species was considered by Cash (1909) to differ from D. acuminata only in the shape of the terminal horn. Mazei and Warren (2012) consider this form as a junior synonym of D. acuminata. The main distinguishing character however is the structure of the nucleus. Penards description is quite clear, though his drawing is confusing. This drawing shows the surface of the nucleus, giving the impression that the nucleus is filled with nucleoli.

I have found shells of this species between typical D. acuminata shells. They could be distinguished from the latter by their transparency, caused by transparent and flat xenosomes and the absence of thicker sand grains, and the structure of the nucleus. A large part of these flat xenosomes were fragments of diatoms. another feature, well visible in typical shapes, as in the shells above, is the smooth transition from shell to spine on one side, similar to the transition from head to snout in an elephant fish.

Difflugia curvicaulis
Drawing by Penard, 1902
Difflugia curvicaulis
D. curvicaulis, all tests from the same location, 197-230 µm long
Difflugia curvicaulis
Difflugia curvicaulis
Difflugia curvicaulis
D. curvicaulis, nuclei; surface (L) and cross-section (R)
Difflugia curvicaulis
D. curvicaulis, nucleus, A Surface; B Cross-section
Difflugia curvicaulis
Difflugia curvicaulis, from several locations, 171-203 µm long
Difflugia curvicaulis
Difflugia curvicaulis, composed of many diatoms – stacked image
Difflugia curvicaulis
Shell 176 µm long – Gaasterland, the Netherlands
Difflugia curvicaulis
From Mazei and Warren (2012)
Difflugia curvicaulis
Drawing by Penard, 1902, compared with two photomicrographs
Difflugia curvicaulis
Difflugia curvicaulis, c. 180 µm
Difflugia curvicaulis
Original drawing by Penard, 1899
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