Sarcomastigophora

The phylum Sarcomastigophora (SAR-koh-mas-ti-GAHF-uh-ruh) includes 1,500 species and the subphylum Mastigophora. Members of this phylum are characterized by one or more flagella. Flagella are long, whiplike structures that are made up of microtubules and used for movement. Flagella can be seen in Figure 25-6. The rapid motion of flagella moves the protist through water. Many mastigophorans are free-living species that inhabit lakes and ponds, where they feed on smaller organisms.

Some mastigophorans are parasites, including many in the genus Trypanosoma. Trypanosomes live in the blood of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and are carried from host to host by bloodsucking insects. Two species of Trypanosoma cause sleeping sickness. The tsetse fly, which lives only in Africa, transmits these parasites. The disease is characterized by increasing fever, lethargy, mental deterioration, and coma.

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