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Title: Labyrinthulomycetes  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Heterokont, Slime mold, Slime molds, Ambiregnal protists, Heterokonts
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The cell with the network of filaments Aplanochytrium sp.
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): SAR
Phylum: Heterokontophyta
Class: Labyrinthulomycetes Arx, 1970,
Dick, 2001
, or
Labyrinthulea Olive, 1975
ex Cavalier-Smith, 1989


  • Labyrinthulomycota Whittaker, 1969
  • Labyrinthomorpha Page in Levine et al., 1980

The Labyrinthulomycetes (ICBN) or Labyrinthulea[1] (ICZN), are a class (biology) of protists that produce a network of filaments or tubes,[2] which serve as tracks for the cells to glide along and absorb nutrients for them. There are two main groups, the labyrinthulids (or slime nets) and thraustochytrids. They are mostly marine, commonly found as parasites on alga and seagrass or as decomposers on dead plant material. They also include some parasites of marine invertebrates.[3]

Although they are outside the cells, the filaments are surrounded by a sagenogen or bothrosome. The cells are uninucleate and typically ovoid, and move back and forth along the amorphous network at speeds varying from 5-150 μm per minute. Among the labyrinthulids the cells are enclosed within the tubes, and among the thraustochytrids they are attached to their sides.


Labyrinthulomycetes/Labyrinthulea used to belong to the defunct fungal phylum Labyrinthulomycota. They were originally considered unusual slime moulds, although they are not very similar to the other sorts. The structure of their zoospores and genetic studies show them to be a primitive group of heterokonts, but their classification and treatment remains somewhat unsettled.

This class has usually two orders, Labyrinthulales and Thraustochytriales (ICBN), or Labyrinthulida and Thraustochytrida (ICZN).[4]


  1. ^ Cavalier-Smith, T. (1997). "Sagenista and bigyra, two phyla of heterotrophic heterokont chromists". Archiv für Protistenkunde 148 (3): 253–267.  
  2. ^ Tsui CK, Marshall W, Yokoyama R, et al. (January 2009). "Labyrinthulomycetes phylogeny and its implications for the evolutionary loss of chloroplasts and gain of ectoplasmic gliding". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 50 (1): 129–40.  
  3. ^ Schärer, L.; Knoflach, D.; Vizoso, D. B.; Rieger, G.; Peintner, U. (2007). "Thraustochytrids as novel parasitic protists of marine free-living flatworms: Thraustochytrium caudivorum sp. nov. Parasitizes Macrostomum lignano". Marine Biology 152 (5): 1095.  
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-04-04. 

External links

  • Labyrinthulomycota
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