Photo of the Week: Loxodes rex- The ‘King’ of Tropical Microbes

Loxodes rex- The ‘King’ of Tropical Microbes

Loxodes rex– The ‘King’ of Tropical Microbes

Our next instalment of the ‘Photo of the Week’ series features Hunter N. Hines’s image of the freshwater species Loxodes rex.  The series is a weekly instalment, which features an image taken by our fantastic BU staff and students. The photos give a glimpse into some of the fascinating work our researchers have been doing across BU and the wider community.

Loxodes rex is a flagship freshwater ciliate species, a large eukaryotic organism that is a single cell. The photomicrograph is an image taken in Florida (USA), using 100x magnification. This species was long believed to exist only in Tropical Africa.

This research into flagship species in new global regions questions the ideas of microbial biogeography and dispersal.  This species is 1,200µm long (1.2 millimetres!) and visible to the naked eye. The large mouth is at the top left of the image and you can see numerous food items within the cell. The many lines running down the cell are ciliary rows, which are used for swimming.

Further research into the project will reveal more flagship species in novel regions, and could uncover species which are new to the science world.

If you’d like find out more about the research or the photo itself then please contact Hunter.

This photo was originally an entry to the 2017 Research Photography Competition. If you have any other questions about the Photo of the Week series or the competition please email