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Cryptomonas Ehrenberg 1831

Kerstin Hoef-Emden
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taxon links [up-->]Cryptomonas curvata [up-->]Cryptomonas ovata [up-->]Cryptomonas phaseolus [up-->]Cryptomonas marssonii [down<--]Cryptomonads Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Cryptomonads



Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

Phylogenetic trees demonstrate that the separation into three genera based only on ultrastructure or pigment content (polygonal periplast plates [Cryptomonas] vs. sheet-like periplast [“Campylomonas”], and phycoerythrin 566 vs. leucoplast [“Chilomonas”]) result in an unnatural system. Instead of forming three clearly separated groups corresponding to morphologically defined genera, strains displaying different morphotypes intermingle in most sub-clades and some strains are even dimorphic with both cell types in a culture (Figure 1; Hoef-Emden and Melkonian 2003; Hoef-Emden 2007). “Chilomonas” not only evolved from photosynthetic species, loss of photosynthesis occurred three times independently (Hoef-Emden 2005). Therefore, the former genera Campylomonas and Chilomonas have been included in Cryptomonas (Hoef-Emden and Melkonian 2003). Until 2003 no valid type, neotype or lectotype of Cryptomonas had been designated. Since the figures by Ehrenberg of Cryptomonas curvata were the only ones that could be clearly assigned by morphology to extant strains, this species has been chosen to be the lectotype species (Hoef-Emden and Melkonian 2003). These examinations also show that Pringsheim's scepticism towards the application of a morphospecies concept in Cryptomonas was justified (Hoef-Emden 2007). Several Cryptomonas species can be identified only by molecular signatures.

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Figure 1. Molecular phylogeny of the genus Cryptomonas. Maximum likelihood tree inferred from nucleomorph SSU rDNA sequences. Scale bar = substitutions per site. © 2008 Kerstin Hoef-Emden

Other Names for Cryptomonas Ehrenberg 1831


Ehrenberg CG (1831) Symbolae physicae seu Icones et Descriptiones Animalium Evertebratorum sepositis Insectis que ex itinere per Africanum borealem et Asiam occidentalem Friderici Guilelmi Hemprich et Christiani Godofredi Ehrenberg medicinae et chirurgiae doctorum studio novae aut illustratae redierunt. Mittler, Berlin

Ehrenberg CG (1832) Über die Entwickelung und Lebensdauer der Infusionsthiere; nebst ferneren Beiträgen zu einer Vergleichung ihrer organischen Systeme. Abh. Königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, Physik. Klasse 1831: 1-154

Ehrenberg CG (1838) Die Infusionsthiere als vollkommene Organismen: Ein Blick in das tiefere organische Leben der Natur. Nebst einem Atlas von colorirten Kupfertafeln. Voss, Leipzig

Hill DRA (1991a) A revised circumscription of Cryptomonas (Cryptophyceae) based on examination of Australian strains. Phycologia 30: 170-188

Hoef-Emden K (2005) Multiple independent losses of photosynthesis and differing evolutionary rates in the genus Cryptomonas (Cryptophyceae): Combined phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequences of the nuclear and nucleomorph ribosomal operons. J. Mol. Evol. 60: 183-195

Hoef-Emden K (2007) Revision of the genus Cryptomonas (Cryptophyceae) II: Incongruences between classical morphospecies and molecular phylogeny in smaller pyrenoid-less cells. Phycologia 46: 402-428

Hoef-Emden K, Melkonian M (2003) Revision of the genus Cryptomonas (Cryptophyceae): a combination of molecular phylogeny and morphology provides insights into a long-hidden dimorphism. Protist 154: 371-409

Joyon L (1963) Sur la présence d'un leucoplaste chez la Cryptomonadine decolorée Chilomonas paramecium (Ehrenberg). C. R. Hebd. Séances Acad. Sci. 256: 3502-3503

Sepsenwol S (1973) Leucoplast of the cryptomonad Chilomonas paramecium. Exp. Cell Res. 76: 395-409

Skuja H (1948) Taxonomie des Phytoplanktons einiger Seen in Uppland, Schweden. Symb. Bot. Ups. 9: 346-367

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Cryptomonas sp.
Comments from a freshwater sample. Cryptomonas lundii/borealis relationship.
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 2008 Kerstin Hoef-Emden
Scientific Name Cryptomonas paramaecium CCAP977/2a
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 2008 Natalie Donaher and John Archibald
About This Page

This page is being developed as part of the Tree of Life Web Project Protist Diversity Workshop, co-sponsored by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity and the Tula Foundation.

Kerstin Hoef-Emden
Universität zu Köln, Köln, Germany

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Kerstin Hoef-Emden at

Page: Tree of Life Cryptomonas Ehrenberg 1831. Authored by Kerstin Hoef-Emden. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Hoef-Emden, Kerstin. 2010. Cryptomonas Ehrenberg 1831. Version 02 April 2010 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Cryptomonas/97214/2010.04.02 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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