Dinoflagellates exhibit three different kinds of feeding methods: phagocytosis, peduncle feeding, and pallium feeding.

1. Phagocytosis is a method in which the organism will engulf the desired food particle. The organism approaches the desired food particle via flagella and then surrounds the particle or organism. The main organism will form around the desired nutrient and will internalize it to then be digested and absorbed.

2. Peduncle feeding consists of a Dinoflagellate that possesses a peduncle, an extension of the membrane with microtubules, that extends out to capture its prey (Lee, 1999).

3. Pallium feeding which is when the organism’s pallium, extension of the membrane, is extended and secretes digestive enzymes on its prey which will digest the prey outside of the organism. The pallium will then retract back into the organism so it can absorb the nutrients. All three of these methods are depicted below.

Dinoflagellate Feeding Methods 
Wikipedia Commons: Unknown Author

Alexandrium tamarense uses the first feeding method described above, phagocytosis. A. tamarense moves towards the desired nutrient via two flagella instead of one. Keep in mind that Alexandrium tamarense is a single celled organism and the ability to engulf another particle or organism is amazing!


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