This was the very first protozoa illustration I made, back in 2016 when I first saw the need for them in our public microscope demonstrations. I chose to draw Vorticella, which has been my favourite ciliate since I first started working at the microscope.
Vorticella is typically associated with water, but can be found in the soil as well. They are usually seen fixed to particles of debris by a stalk which can coil up like a spring if the cell is disturbed. They can also be seen swimming freely on occasion.
Vorticella is a filter feeder, using a ring of cilia (tiny hairs) around its mouth opening to create a whirling vortex in the water, sucking in particles of food. Vorticella mainly feeds on bacteria. To the left you can also see a small flagellate swimming by.
Looking at the surrounding soil, you can see that at a microscopic level soil is so much more than the inert substance we refer to as “dirt”. It is a diverse and fascinating habitat, made up of many different fragments and particles of matter in different stages of decomposition and recycling, bound together by the activities of diverse microorganisms.
I hope that my artwork can help bring people a little bit closer to the invisible world of microbiology that we depend on for so much.
This is a gallery-quality giclée art print on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. Each art print is listed by sheet size and features a minimum one-inch border.