Formerly, genera and species of cryptomonads were identified on the
basis of characters such as number of ejectosome rows and plastid color. These features are
useless, and are being replaced with a set of characters based primarily on periplast and
pyrenoid ultrastructure. Very few algae that bear the name Cryptomonas have been examined
with respect to these characters. Hence, a name applied to an illustration or culture may be
misapplied at the species or even the genus level.
Some species frequently used in experimental work have never been formally identified. For
example, "Cryptomonas phi" and "Cryptomonas theta" are more correctly written
"Cryptomonas strain [Greek letter phi]" and "Cryptomonas strain [Greek letter theta]"; the Greek-letter strain designations
were those applied to the strains by the original collector.
Return to summary information