- Foraminifera -

Syringammina sp.

Chromista (Kingdom) > Foraminifera (Phylum) > Monothalamea (Class) > Xenophyophoroidea

(Superfamily) > Syringamminidae (Family)

The specimens in the images shown here are a type

of single celled organism called a xenophyophore.

Xenophyophores are the only organisms from outside

the animal kingdom considered in this guide.

The single cell branches and splits into hundreds

of tubes that ramify and interconnect into a complex

network. The delicate structure that is visible

in the images is called the test. This builds up as

the organism proliferates, secreting a slimy organic


Xenophyophores were found throughout the study Syringammina at Mzia-3 (1700 m)

area. They were seen at all the study sites off Tanzania

with the exception of Ngisi-1. They were most abundant at the deeper sites, Mzia-2,

Mzia-3, Zafarani and Lavani where they were the most abundant organisms encountered

in video surveys.

The tests built by xenophyophores are the largest known structures produced by a single

cell. The specimen shown, and the majority of those seen off Tanzania, were about 3-4

cm in diameter. Specimens collected at Mzia-3 resemble Syringammina fragilissima but

further work is being carried out on the specimens to determine the species. They are of

particular interest because xenophyophores have never previously been recorded in this

area of the western Indian Ocean.


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