Ralfs 1843      Category: Araphid
TYPE SPECIES: Tetracyclus lacustris Ralfs




Smallest to largest - 3 taxa sorted by maximum length

Image Credit: Gene Stoermer, Ian Bishop

CLASS: Fragilariophyceae
  ORDER: Tabellariales
    FAMILY: Tabellareaceae

  1. Striae pattern scattered or less regular at sternum
  2. Valve mantle with prominent hyaline step
  3. Copulae with multiple ornamented pattern

Frustules of Tetracyclus are heavily silicified. Valves are isopolar, with a flat surface. The valve mantle is relatively deep and possesses a prominent hyaline step. The valve face may be elliptical to elongate (some taxa are even circular) and the apicies are often capitate. Primary internal transapical ribs are present, and some species may possess secondary and tertiary transapical ribs. The valve margin may be expanded centrally. Striae are uniseriate. The striae are parallel to slightly radiate, and extend over the mantle. At the sternum, the stria pattern is scattered, or less regular than other parts of the valve. That is, the axial area has indefinite margins. Apical pore fields are present. The cingulum is composed of several open bands. Valves may have up to two rimoportulae (in some cases more than two rimoportulae). The rimoportulae are positioned near the valve center or in the mantle area, making them difficult to see using LM. Cells form zig-zag colonies joined by mucilage pads. Alternatively, there are species which have valve face to face colonies joined by what appear to be very small spines.

According to Williams (1987), the only extant species that possess rimoportulae are T. emarginatus and T. rupestris.

Tetracyclus is considered a close relative of Tabellaria. Extinct species of Tetracyclus occur in the fossil lacustrine deposits of western North America. In cold water habitats of the Northern Hemisphere, the species T. glans, T. emarginatus and T. rupestris occur in high latitude and high altitude oliotrophic lakes and in moss habitats.

Cite This Page:
Spaulding, S., and Edlund, M. (2008). Tetracyclus. In Diatoms of the United States. Retrieved April 24, 2018, from http://westerndiatoms.colorado.edu/taxa/genus/Tetracyclus

Contributor: Sarah Spaulding | Mark Edlund - December 2008


August 19th, 2013 - Correction to genus description

The guide points and text describing the features of the genus was corrected to conform more to the work of Williams (1987). - S. Spaulding