/krip tom"euh nad'/, n. Biol.any of various protozoalike algae of the phylum Cryptophyta usually having two flagella, common in both marine and freshwater environments where they appear along the shore as algal blooms, some also occurring as intestinal parasites. Also called cryptophyte.[ < NL Cryptomonad-, s. of Cryptomonas, a typical genus; see CRYPTO-, MONAD]
* * *Occurring in both fresh and salt water, cryptomonads contain pigments found only in red algae and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). They sometimes live harmlessly within other organisms. Some species conduct photosynthesis. Others lack pigment-containing structures and eat organic matter, under certain conditions surviving on minerals alone.
* * *▪ protistany small biflagellate organism considered to be either a protozoan (order Cryptomonadida) or an alga (class Cryptophyceae). Occurring in both fresh and salt water, cryptomonads contain pigments found elsewhere only in red and blue-green algae. Some live harmlessly as zooxanthellae within other organisms. Cryptomonas, a typical photosynthetic genus, has two unequal flagella attached at one end of a flattened oval cell. Chilomonas does not have chromatophores (pigment-containing structures) and lives by ingesting organic matter. Some cryptomonads encyst in a spherical cellulose case. They reproduce asexually in either the motile or nonmotile state. See also zooxanthella.
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