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An organelle in certain protozoans, especially ciliates, consisting of filamentous fibers that are discharged suddenly.

trich′o·cys′tic adj.


(Zoology) any of various cavities on the surface of some ciliate protozoans, each containing a sensory thread that can be ejected
ˌtrichoˈcystic adj


(ˈtrɪk əˌsɪst)

a small sac in certain protozoans that contains a hairlike stinger.
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The ciliary patterns on the surface of the trophont are the basis for species identification among apostome ciliates (Chatton and Lwoff 1935), though other characteristics can be used to identify whether a ciliate is an apostome or not, including internal structures; especially trichocysts, secretory dense bodies, a rosette, and membrane organelles (Bradbury 1966, 1973, Landers 1991a, 1991b, Landers et al.
Trichocysts are carrot-shaped organelles of unknown function that are released in response to certain stimuli.
Their two flagella emerge from a type of "gullet" and are associated with ejectosomes, "rods" that fire like the trichocysts of dinophytes.