Unicellular organism’s first discovery in the Netherlands


Miniacina miniacea, photo by Foto Fitis, Sytske Dijksen

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Bucket with mini gems on Texel beach

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

It looks like a red coralline little fan. But this phenomenon is a graceful foraminifer, a single-celled organism with a calcium carbonate skeleton. It’s called Miniacina miniacea. Photographer and Ecomare assistant Sytske Dijksen found it on the Hors on Texel, near beach post 7. It is the first time that Miniacina miniacea was found in the Netherlands. Sytske is often found on the beach, rain or shine. There’s lots to explore. This time it was the discovery of a blue bucket associated with a lobster basket.

Plant or animal?

It is sometimes difficult to tell whether a single-celled organism is a plant or an animal. Scientists often use the term animal when an organism has no chlorophyll. Single-celled animals are in the category zooplankton. Miniacina miniacea has no chlorophyll, so you could see it as an animal. With its ‘feet’ it gathers food. In the picture it may look a lot, but in reality Miniacina miniacea is only 1 to 2 millimeters.

Miniacina miniacea lives in the Mediterranean and near the Azores. Probably, a marine current brought the bucket, with foraminifers, from there to Texel.

2 thoughts on “Unicellular organism’s first discovery in the Netherlands

  1. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether a single-celled organism is a plant or an animal.

    That might be because it’s neither. The older designation is that it is a protist (kingdom protista). More recently, it would be classified in the kingdom chromista. What century did the biology book the author was using come from?

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