Ciliates are a group of the protozoans distinguised by their hair-like protrusions, cilia, which are attached to the cell.  All members of the group utilize cilia for various specialties; swimming, sensation, crawling, feeding, and attachment. Ciliates are very common wherever there is water; lakes, ponds, rivers, soil.  Ciliates contain a multifarious amount of endosymbiotic members, however there are members that are opportunistic parasites.

General Life CycleEdit

Morphological CharacteristicsEdit

Ciliates are characterized by the presence of cilia, or hair like protrusions, as well as two nuclei, including a micronucleus and a macronucleus.  While the micronucleus exists in a small, inactive state, the macronucleus exists in an upregulated state, and is responsible for all genetic activity.  However, eventually the genome of the macronucleus becomes mutated to such an extent that it is discarded and the micronucleus copies itself as a form of replacement.


Balantidium coli

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

Opalina sp.

Protoopalina sp.