Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- A name given by Otho Fr. Müller to an indiscriminate assemblage of minute, and for the most part microscopic, animal and vegetable organisms frequently developed in infusions of decaying organic substances. The Infusoria in this sense comprehended various desmids, diatoms, and other low plants, with many protozoan animalcules, and also rotifers or wheel-animalcules. Some of these organisms were known to Linnæus, and thrown by him into a genus which he called
Chaos, at the end of his class Vermes. Lamarck, Gmelin, and others followed Müller in his understanding of Infusoria. Cuvier made Infusoria the fifth class of Radiata, divided into two orders, Rotifera and Homogenea. See Microzoa, Polygastrica.
- A class of minute, mostly microscopic, animalcules, provisionally regarded as the highest class of Protozoa. They are endoplastic, having a nucleus; there is a mouth and a rudimentary stomach or gastric cavity; there are vibratile cilia or flagella, but no proper pseudopodia. Most are aquatic and free-swimming, and some are internal parasites; but others form colonies by budding, and when adult are fixed to some solid object. The body consists of an outer transparent cuticle, a cortical layer of firm sarcode, and a central mass of soft or semi-liquid sarcode, which acts as a stomach, and in which vacuoles may appear. A nucleus, which is supposed to be an ovary, having attached to it a spherical particle, the nucleolus, supposed to be a spermatic gland, is embedded in the cortical substance. Contractions of the body are effected by sarcode fibers. Reproduction takes place variously. The cilia or flagella are not only organs of locomotion, but form currents by which food is carried into the mouth. The Infusoria have been variously subdivided. A current classification is by division of the class into four orders, based on the character of their cilia or flagella, namely, Ciliata, Flagellata, Choanoflagellata, and Suctoria or Tentaculifera. By S. Kent, the latest monographer, the Infusoria are called a “legion” or superclass of Protozoa, and include the sponges; and they are divided into three classes, Flagellata or Mastigophora, Ciliata or Trichophora, and Tentaculifera.
- n. biology The many minute aquatic creatures, such as protozoa and unicellular algae found in fresh water habitats
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) One of the classes of Protozoa, including a large number of species, all of minute size. Formerly, the term was applied to any microbe found in infusions of decaying organic material, but the term is now applied more specifically to one of the classes of the phylum Ciliophora, of ciliated protozoans.
- n. in some recent classifications, coextensive with the Ciliata: minute organisms found in decomposing infusions of organic matter
“The microscope revealed the complexity of organic tissues, the existence of minute creatures, vaguely called infusoria, and the strange inhabitants of the blood, the red and white corpuscles.”
“There are certain minute animal productions called infusoria and organisms peculiar to each portion of the globe.”
“In 1838, Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg gave a description of the finer structure of the "infusoria" but it was Ferdinad Cohn, who in 1854 first ascertained with certainty that bacteria belonged to the vegetable kingdom.”
“It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.”
“Were it only by the identity of the law, the evolution of the comet in the firmament to the whirling of the infusoria in the drop of water.”
“It proves the presence of decomposing organic matter in the water — it is full of infusoria.”
“Furthermore, it has been found that experiments made in the manner described above answer well with most infusions; but that if you fill the vessel with boiled milk, and then stop the neck with cotton-wool, you ‘will’ have infusoria.”
“These experiments, you see, all tended towards one conclusion — that the infusoria were developed from little minute spores or eggs which were constantly floating in the atmosphere, which lose their power of germination if subjected to heat.”
“The reports were endorsed by P.L. Smith, W. Kleinschmidt, Charles Kovar, Louis Forgeron and D. Herrero, which covered all the worlds 'authorities in the disciplines of fish parasites, ringworm, botany, infusoria and aphids.”
“It is like a drop of water seen through a microscope, a single drop teeming with infusoria; or a speck of cheese full of mites invisible to the naked eye.”
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