Peridinium digitale, from Calkins (1902).

Belongs within: Peridiniaceae.

The state of Peridinium
Published 12 December 2011

As I’ve said on many an occasion before, dinoflagellates are complicated. Obscenely complicated. So when my search for a random post topic brought up the dinoflagellate genus Peridinium, I approached it with a certain amount of dread.

Specimen of Peridinium cf. cinctum, photographed by Kate Howell. Peridinium cinctum is the type species of Peridinium.

Peridinium is a genus that has been used in the past to cover a wide range of freshwater and marine dinoflagellates. For a long time, the standard diagnosis of Peridinium was that it contained species with four apical plates (the ring of plates at the front of the cell when it is moving), seven precingular plates (the ring of plates in front of the cingulum), five postcingular plates and two antapical plates (Carty 2008). However, the genus has been divided by differences in the shape and arrangements of the plates making up the theca into a number of species groups, and more recent studies have concurred that these species groups are not all closely related to each other. While support remains low in most phylogenetic studies of dinoflagellates, and many species remain to be analysed, indications are that all of the marine species and many of the freshwater species are not true Peridinium (Horiguchi & Takano 2006; Logares et al. 2007). As it currently stands, the probably monophyletic Peridinium sensu stricto includes two species groups, the P. cinctum and P. willei groups, and is exclusively freshwater. As well as the characters mentioned above, true Peridinium species have three apical intercalary plates between the apical and precingular plates, five cingular plates, and ridges on all the plates forming an areolate pattern. They are also united by a distinct combination of which plates in the front section of the organism break off when the theca is shed during cell division (Craveiro et al. 2009). The two species groups differ in the exact arrangement of the plates anterior to the cingulum: in the P. willei group they are symmetrical relative to the dorsal-ventral axis, vs asymmetrical in the P. cinctum group. Slightly surprisingly, though the presence or absence of an apical pore was one of the first characters used to subdivide the genus Peridinium, Peridinium sensu stricto includes both species with (such as P. bipes) and without (such as P. cinctum and P. willei).

SEM image of Peridinium gatunense, by Pawel Owsiany.

Peridinium species are photosynthetic, with a much-lobed chloroplast that ramifies through the cell. One species, identified by Hickel & Pollingher (1988) as P. gatunense, has been intensely studied as the creator of annual blooms in Lake Kinneret in Israel.

Systematics of Peridinium
<==Peridinium Ehrenberg 1830FT93
    |--*P. cinctum (Müller) Ehrenberg 1830GK05, FT93 [=Vorticella cinctum Müller 1773FT93]
    |    |  i. s.: P. c. f. ovoplanumGE87
    |    |--P. c. var. cinctumLK87
    |    `--P. c. var. westiiLK87
    |--P. abei Paulsen 1931 [=P. biconicum (preoc.)]S73
    |    |--P. a. f. abei [=P. a. f. typicum Abé 1936]S73
    |    |--P. a. f. elegans (Böhm) Abé 1936 [=P. biconicum f. elegans Böhm 1931 (nom. illeg.)]S73
    |    `--P. a. f. rotundum Abé 1936S73
    |--P. acanthophorum Balech 1962S73
    |--P. acarnanicum Athanassopoulos 1931S73
    |--P. adeliense Balech 1958S73
    |--P. adense Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. affine Balech 1958S73
    |--P. africanumTP87
    |--P. aliferum Gaarder in Parke & Dixon 1968 (see below for synonymy)S73
    |--P. allorgeiTP87
    |--P. americanum Gran & Braarud 1935S73
    |--P. amplum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. ampulliforme Wood 1954S73
    |--P. anguipes Balech 1967S73
    |--P. anomaloplaxum Balech 1964S73
    |--P. apiculatumTP87
    |--P. archiovatum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. aspidiotum Balech 1964S73
    |--P. avellana [incl. Chytroeisphaeridia cariacoensis]S73
    |--P. baicalenseTP87
    |--P. balienseTP87
    |--P. balticumC-S02
    |--P. belizensis Carty & Wujek 2003CW03
    |--P. bicorneGE87
    |--P. breveSW70
    |--P. brintonii Balech 1962S73
    |--P. brochiiSW70
    |    |--P. b. var. brochiiSW70
    |    `--P. b. var. inflatumSW70
    |--P. bulbosum Gaarder 1954S73
    |--P. capdevillei Balech 1959S73
    |--P. capurroi Balech 1959S73
    |--P. carinaeferum Gail 1950S73
    |--P. centennialeCW03
    |--P. charcotii Balech 1958S73
    |--P. chattonii Biecheler 1952S73
    |--P. claudicanoides Graham 1942S73
    |--P. claudicansSW70
    |--P. clavus Abé 1936S73
    |--P. colombonense Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. conicoidesSW70
    |--P. conicumS73
    |    |--P. c. f. conicumS73
    |    |--P. c. f. ceylonicum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |    `--P. c. f. guardafuianum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. constrictum Abé 1936S73
    |--P. crassipesS73
    |    |--P. c. f. crassipesS73
    |    |--P. c. f. asymmetricum Abé 1933S73
    |    `--P. c. f. autumnaleS73
    |--P. crassipyrum Balech 1961 [=P. crassum Balech 1959 (preoc.)]S73
    |--P. cunningtoniiTP87
    |--P. curtipes [=P. crassipes ssp. curtipes (Jörgensen) Margalef & Durán 1953 (nom. inv.)]S73
    |    |--P. c. f. curtipesS73
    |    `--P. c. f. aymmetricum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. curtum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. decipiensS73
    |    |--P. d. var. decipiensS73
    |    `--P. d. var. ajuschinii Gail 1950S73
    |--P. defectum Balech in Balech & El-Sayed 1954S73
    |--P. delicatissimum Braarud 1935S73
    |--P. denticulatum Gran & Braarud 1935S73
    |--P. depressumS73
    |    |  i. s.: P. d. f. antarcticum (Karsten) Matzenauer 1933S73
    |    |         P. d. f. bisintercalare Graham 1942S73
    |    |         P. d. f. multitabulatum Graham 1942S73
    |    |--P. d. var. depressumS73
    |    |--P. d. var. convexius Graham 1942S73
    |    `--P. d. var. rectius Graham 1942S73
    |--P. digataleSW70
    |--P. elegansS73
    |    |--P. e. f. elegansS73
    |    |--P. e. f. divergens Matzenauer 1933S73
    |    `--P. e. f. granulatum (Karsten) Matzenauer 1933 [=P. granulatum]S73
    |--P. elegantissimum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. elpatiewskyiTP87
    |--P. eurycepsTP87
    |--P. excentricumSW70
    |--P. exiguipes [=P. exiquipes]S73
    |--P. fatulipesSW70
    |--P. gaarderae Balech 1967 (see below for synonymy)S73
    |--P. gargantua Biecheler 1936S73
    |--P. gatunense Nygaard in Ostenfeld & Nygaard 1925FT93
    |--P. gibbosum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. globiferum Abé 1940S73
    |--P. globulusS73
    |    |--P. g. var. globulusS73
    |    `--P. g. var. ovatumS73
    |         |--P. g. var. o. f. ovatumS73
    |         `--P. g. var. o. f. spirale Gaarder 1954S73
    |--P. ‘gracile’ Gran & Braarud 1935 (preoc.)S73
    |--P. grahamii Sournia 1973 [=P. truncatum Graham 1942 (preoc.)]S73
    |    |--P. g. f. grahamiiS73
    |    `--P. g. f. acutum (Graham) Sournia 1973 [=P. truncatum f. acutum Graham 1942]S73
    |--P. grandeSW70
    |--P. graniiS73
    |    |--P. g. f. graniiS73
    |    |--P. g. f. miteS73
    |    `--P. g. f. spirale Gaarder 1954 [=P. g. var. mite f. spirale Gaarder 1954]S73
    |--P. gutwinskiiTP87
    |--P. gymnodiniumSW70
    |--P. hangoeiGE87
    |--P. helix Balech 1962S73
    |--P. hemisphaericum Abé 1936S73
    |--P. heteroconicum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. heterospinum Gaarder 1954S73
    |--P. incertum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. inclinatum Balech 1964S73
    |--P. incognitum Balech 1959S73
    |--P. inflatiforme Böhm 1936S73
    |--P. intermedium Candeias 1938S73
    |--P. laticeps Grøntved & Seidenfaden 1938S73
    |--P. latidorsale (Dangeard) Balech 1951 [=P. oblongum var. latidorsale]S73
    |--P. latipyrum Balech 1959S73
    |--P. latispinumSW70
    |--P. latistriatum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. latumSW70
    |--P. leonisS73
    |    |--P. l. var. leonisS73
    |    `--P. l. var. concavilaterale Kisselew 1935S73
    |--P. ligusticum Rampi 1951S73
    |--P. lipopodium Balech 1964S73
    |--P. lomnickiiW87
    |--P. margalefii Silva 1956S73
    |--P. marielebourae Paulsen 1931S73
    |--P. marukawai Abé 1936S73
    |--P. matzenaueri Böhm 1936 [=P. punctulatum f. asymmetricum Matzenauer 1933]S73
    |--P. mediocre Balech 1958S73
    |--P. mediterraneum [=P. steinii ssp. mediterraneum]S73
    |--P. metananus Balech in Balech & El-Sayed 1965 [=P. metananum]S73
    |--P. ‘meunieri’ Peters 1930 (preoc.)S73
    |--P. minusculaSW70
    |--P. mirabilisTP87
    |--P. missolongicum Athanassopoulos 1931S73
    |--P. monospinosumSW70
    |--P. monovelum Abé 1936S73
    |--P. murrayiS73
    |    |--P. m. var. murrayiS73
    |    |--P. m. var. occidentale Pavillard 1930S73
    |    `--P. m. var. orientale Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. mutsuense Abé 1936S73
    |--P. mutsui [=Sphaerodinium asymmetricum, P. asymmetricum (Abé) Abé 1936 (preoc.)]S73
    |--P. nanus Balech 1962 [=P. nanum]S73
    |--P. nipponicumSW70
    |--P. norpacense Balech 1962S73
    |--P. novascotiense Gran & Braarud 1935S73
    |--P. nudum Meunier 1919PA87
    |--P. nuxSW70
    |--P. obesum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. oblongumSW70
    |--P. obovatum Wood 1954S73
    |--P. obtusumSW70
    |--P. oceanicumS73
    |    |  i. s.: P. o. f. bisintercalare Graham 1942S73
    |    |         P. o. f. curvicorne Böhm 1931S73
    |    |         P. o. f. spiniferum Graham 1942S73
    |    |         P. o. f. tricornutum Graham 1942S73
    |    |--P. o. var. oceanicumS73
    |    |--P. o. var. crassum Böhm 1936S73
    |    `--P. o. var. tenellum Graham 1942S73
    |--P. orientale Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. ovatumS73
    |    |  i. s.: P. o. f. arcticum Grøntved & Seidenfaden 1938S73
    |    |--P. o. var. ovatumS73
    |    `--P. o. var. inarmatum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. palatinumTP87
    |--P. pallidumS73
    |    |--P. p. var. pallidumS73
    |    `--P. p. var. schilleri [=P. schilleri Paulsen 1931]S73
    |--P. palustreTP87 [=P. raciborskii var. palustre (Lindemann) Lindemann 1928PA87]
    |--P. paracerasus Athanassopoulos 1931S73
    |--P. paradakariense Athanassopoulos 1931S73
    |--P. paragranii Athanassopoulos 1931 [=P. paracranii]S73
    |--P. parapentagonum Wang 1936S73
    |--P. parapyriforme Hermosilla 1968S73
    |--P. parvicollum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. parvispinum Gaarder 1954S73
    |--P. patagonicum Balech 1959S73
    |--P. patensSW70
    |--P. pedunculatumSW70
    |--P. pellucidumSW70
    |--P. penardiiTP87
    |    |--P. p. f. penardiiTP87
    |    `--P. p. f. californicumTP87
    |--P. pentagonoides Balech 1949S73
    |--P. pentagonumS73
    |    |  i. s.: P. p. f. depressumS73
    |    |         P. p. f. obliquum Gaarder 1954S73
    |    |--P. p. var. pentagonumSW70
    |    `--P. p. var. latissimumSW70
    |--P. perbreve Balech & Soares 1967S73
    |--P. persicum [=P. schilleri Böhm 1931 non Paulsen 1931]S73
    |--P. peruvianum Balech 1961S73
    |--P. petersii Balech 1958S73
    |--P. phalericum Athanassopoulos 1931S73
    |--P. pietschmannii Böhm 1931S73
    |--P. polonicumTP87
    |--P. pseudoantarcticum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. pseudogranii Peters 1930S73
    |--P. pseudolaeveLO03
    |--P. pseudopallidum Peters 1930S73
    |--P. pulvisculusSW70
    |--P. punctulatumS73 [=P. subinerme var. punctulatumSW70]
    |    |--P. p. f. punctulatumS73
    |    `--P. p. f. eupunctulatum Böhm 1931S73
    |--P. pusillumTP87
    |--P. pyriformeSW70
    |--P. pyrum Balech 1959S73
    |--P. quadratum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. quadridensSW70
    |--P. quarnerense [=P. globulus var. quarnerense, P. globosum (l. c.) var. quarnerense]S73
    |    |--P. q. f. quarnerenseS73
    |    `--P. q. f. spirale (Gaarder) Ballantine in Parke & Dixon 1964 (see below for synonymy)S73
    |--P. quinquecorneSW70
    |--P. raciborskiTP87
    |--P. rampii Balech 1959S73
    |--P. raphanus Balech 1958 [=P. raphanum]S73
    |--P. retiferum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. rosaceum Balech 1958S73
    |--P. roscoffiense Balech 1962S73
    |--P. rotundatum Abé 1936S73
    |--P. sanguineum Carter 1858 (n. d.)T87
    |--P. simplex Gran & Braarud 1935S73
    |--P. simulum Paulsen 1931 [=P. globulus var. ovatum f. simulum (Paulsen) Gaarder 1954 (nom. inv.)]S73
    |--P. sinaicum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. sociale (Henneguy ex Labbé) Biecheler 1935 [=Glenodinium sociale]S73
    |--P. solidicorneS73
    |    |--P. s. var. solidicorneS73
    |    `--P. s. var. bradynyx Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. solitarium Abé 1936S73
    |--P. somma Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. ‘sphaericum’ Athanassopoulos 1931 (preoc.)S73
    |--P. sphaeroidesS73
    |    |--P. s. var. sphaeroidesS73
    |    `--P. s. var. gracile Matzenauer 1933 [=P. sphaeroidea var. gracile]S73
    |--P. steiniiSW70
    |--P. stellatum Wall in Wall & Dale 1968S73
    |--P. striatum Böhm 1931S73
    |--P. striolatumTP87
    |--P. subsphaericum Balech 1959S73
    |--P. sydneyenseTP87
    |--P. symmetricum Halim 1968S73
    |--P. sympholis Hermosilla & Balech 1969 [=P. conicum f. islandicum Braarud 1935 non P. islandicum]S73
    |--P. tabulatum Ehrenberg 1832PA87
    |--P. taeningii Rampi 1950S73
    |--P. tenuissimumSW70
    |--P. thulesense Balech 1958S73
    |--P. tregouboffii Halim 1955S73
    |--P. triquetrumPHK96
    |--P. tristylumSW70
    |--P. truncus Abé 1936S73
    |--P. tubaSW70
    |--P. umbonatumSW70
    |--P. unipes Balech 1962S73
    |--P. vagans Campbell 1934S73
    |--P. vanhoeffenii Jörgensen ex Grøntved & Seidenfaden 1938S73
    |--P. ventrale Abé 1936S73
    |--P. venustum Matzenauer 1933S73
    |--P. volsella Margalef 1968S73
    |--P. volzii Lemmermann 1905FT93
    |    |--P. v. var. volziiTP87
    |    |--P. v. var. cinctiformeTP87
    |    `--P. v. var. meandricumTP87
    |--P. wiesneriSW70
    |--P. wildemaniTP87
    |--P. willneriSW70
    |--P. wisconsinense Eddy 1930FT93
    `--P. woloszynskae Conrad 1940S73
Nomina invalida: Peridinium biconicum f. elongatum Matzenauer 1933S73
                 P. depressum f. superbum Böhm 1931S73
                 P. ellipticum Halim 1969S73
                 P. globulus f. acanthiferum Böhm 1931S73
                 P. leonis leonis adriaticum Diwald 1939S73
                 P. leonis leonis matzenaueri Diwald 1939S73
                 P. schuttii Halim 1969S73
                 P. solidicorne spiniferum Diwald 1939S73
                 P. subconicum Balech 1958S73

Peridinium aliferum Gaarder in Parke & Dixon 1968 [=P. matzenaueri Gaarder 1954 non Böhm 1936; incl. P. conicum var. concavum Matzenauer 1933]S73

Peridinium gaarderae Balech 1967 [=P. granii var. mite f. distans Gaarder 1954, P. mite f. distans (Gaarder) Ballantine in Parke & Dixon 1964]S73

Peridinium quarnerense f. spirale (Gaarder) Ballantine in Parke & Dixon 1964 [=P. globulus var. quarnerense f. spirale Gaarder 1954 (nom. illeg.) non P. g. var. ovatum f. spirale Gaarder 1954]S73

*Type species of generic name indicated


Carty, S. 2008. Parvodinium gen. nov. for the Umbonatum Group of Peridinium (Dinophyceae). Ohio Journal of Science 108 (5): 103–107.

[CW03] Carty, S., & D. E. Wujek. 2003. A new species of Peridinium and new records of dinoflagellates and silica-scaled chrysophytes from Belize. Caribbean Journal of Science 39: 136–139.

[C-S02] Cavalier-Smith, T. 2002. The phagotrophic origin of eukaryotes and phylogenetic classification of Protozoa. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 52: 297–354.

Craveiro, S. C., A. J. Calado, N. Daugbjerg & Ø. Moestrup. 2009. Ultrastructure and LSU rDNA-based revision of Peridinium group Palatinum (Dinophyceae) with the description of Palatinus gen. nov. Journal of Phycology 45: 1175–1194.

[FT93] Fensome, R. A., F. J. R. Taylor, G. Norris, W. A. S. Sarjeant, D. I. Wharton & G. L. Williams. 1993. A classification of living and fossil dinoflagellates. Micropaleontology Special Publication 7: i–viii, 1–351.

[GE87] Gaines, G., & M. Elbrächter. 1987. Heterotrophic nutrition. In: Taylor, F. J. R. (ed.) The Biology of Dinoflagellates pp. 224–268. Blackwell Scientific.

[GK05] Gottschling, M., H. Keupp, J. Plötner, R. Knop, H. Willems & M. Kirsch. 2005. Phylogeny of calcareous dinoflagellates as inferred from ITS and ribosomal sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 444–455.

Hickel, B., & U. Pollingher. 1988 Identification of the bloom-forming Peridinium from Lake Kinneret (Israel) as P. gatunense (Dinophyceae). British Phycological Journal 23 (2): 115–119.

Horiguchi, T., & Y. Takano. 2006. Serial replacement of a diatom endosymbiont in the marine dinoflagellate Peridinium quinquecorne (Peridiniales, Dinophyceae). Phycological Research 54: 193–200.

[LO03] Lee, J. J., R. Olea, M. Cevasco, X. Pochon, M. Correia, M. Shpigel & J. Pawlowski. 2003. A marine dinoflagellate, Amphidinium eilatiensis n. sp., from the benthos of a mariculture sedimentation pond in Eilat, Israel. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 50 (6): 439–448.

[LK87] Levandowsky, M., .& P. J. Kaneta. 1987. Behaviour in dinoflagellates. In: Taylor, F. J. R. (ed.) The Biology of Dinoflagellates pp. 360–397. Blackwell Scientific.

Logares, R., K. Shalchian-Tabrizi, A. Boltovskoy & K. Rengefors. 2007. Extensive dinoflagellate phylogenies indicate infrequent marine–freshwater transitions. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45 (3): 887–903.

[PA87] Pfiester, L. A., & D. M. Anderson. 1987. Dinoflagellate reproduction. In: Taylor, F. J. R. (ed.) The Biology of Dinoflagellates pp. 611–648. Blackwell Scientific.

[PHK96] Prescott, L. M., J. P. Harley & D. A. Klein. 1996. Microbiology 3rd ed. Wm. C. Brown Publishers: Dubuque (Iowa).

[S73] Sournia, A. 1973. Catalogue des espèces et taxons infraspécifiques de Dinoflagellés marins actuels publiés depuis la révision de J. Schiller. I. Dinoflagellés libres. Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia 48: 1–92.

[SW70] Steidinger, K. A., & J. Williams. 1970. Dinoflagellates. Memoirs of the Hourglass Cruises 2: 1–251.

[T87] Taylor, F. J. R. 1987. General group characteristics; special features of interest; short history of dinoflagellate study. In: Taylor, F. J. R. (ed.) The Biology of Dinoflagellates pp. 1–23. Blackwell Scientific.

[TP87] Taylor, F. J. R., & U. Pollingher. 1987. Ecology of dinoflagellates. In: Taylor, F. J. R. (ed.) The Biology of Dinoflagellates pp. 398–529. Blackwell Scientific.

[W87] Withers, N. 1987. Dinoflagellate sterols. In: Taylor, F. J. R. (ed.) The Biology of Dinoflagellates pp. 316–359. Blackwell Scientific.

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