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Phylum Cilophora
Class Hypotrichida
Order Euplodita
Family Euplotidae

Euplotes iliffei Hill and Small, 1986

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Euplotes iliffei: ventral view after Hill et al., 1986

Taxonomic Characterization: The genus Euplotes is characterized by rows of fused cilia called cirri running along the ventral (bottom) surface. Cirri are used for swimming and also to "walk" along a substrate. E. iliffei is a medium sized marine Euplotes with an ellipsoid body shape. Most other Euplotes species inhabit freshwater. Dorsal interkinetal argentophilic reticulum is of the multiple to complex type with a tendency toward 4 interkinetal polygonal areas (Hill et al., 1986). Like other members of the group of Euplotes that have a frontoventral cirri in pattern I, the VI/2 cirrus is missing. E. iliffei also has a very pronounced notch in the upper border of the dorsal surface.

Disposition of Specimens: Type material deposited in the US National Museum.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Total body length 90-115 microns (average 101 microns); body width 70-100 microns (average 85 microns).

Number of Species in Genus: 52, of which only one (E. iliffei) is anchialine.

Species Range: Known only from Wonderland Cave, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda (Hill et al., 1986).

Closest Related Species: Fifteen species of Euplotes, including 9 marine, 2 euryhaline and 4 freshwater species, belong to the type one frontoventral cirrotype pattern where cirrus VI/2 is absent (Hill et al., 1986). E. iliffei is similar to E. indentatus described from an intertidal pool in Nassau, Bahamas.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Along with many other protozoa, E. iliffei inhabits an anchialine lake in Wonderland Cave, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda. This cave is situated 420 m inland from Castle Harbour, the nearest water body. Specimens were collected from surface waters of the main cave lake using small protozoan traps baited with tuna fish. At the time of collection, water temperature ranged from 20.2 to 21.2oC and surface salinity was 12 ppt.

Evolutionary Origins: Probably derived from a marine Euplotes.

Conservation Status: Restricted to a single anchialine cave.


  • Hill, B.F., E.B. Small, and T.M. Iliffe. 1986. Euplotes iliffei n.sp.: A new species of Euplotes (Ciliophora, Hypotrichida) from the marine caves of Bermuda. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 76(4):244-249, 7 figures.

Contributors: Bruce F. Hill, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; Eugene B. Small, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

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