General characteristics of Xanthophyceae

  • Members of Xanthophyceae are commonly fresh water (Tribonema) and most of them are free floating.
  • Plant body is unicellular (Heterochloris) or multicellular.
  • The multicellular bodies also exhibit various forms like: Palmelloid (Chlorogloea), dendroid (Mischococcus), coccoid (Chlorobotrys), rhizopodial (Stipitococcus).
  • Cells are eukaryotic with silica and pectin in cell wall.
  • Chief pigment are Chl A and Chl E, beta carotene, neoxanthin, and violoxanthin.
  • Reserve food material includes chrysolaminarin and oils, starch and pyrenoids absent. 
  • Cell wall is often absent, but when present, it contains more pectic compounds than the member of chlorophyceae.
  • Occasionally cellulose is also present.
  • The motile forms bears usually two flagella but rarely one.
  • The chromatophores are discoid in shape.
  • Sexual reproduction is isogamous, anisogamous, or oogamous.
  • Zoospore formation is common
  • Male gamete  are flagellate
  • Flagella are heterokont unequal. 
  • Life cycle are mostly haplontic.
  • Plant reproduce commonly by vegetative and asexual means.
  •  Vegetative reproduction take place by cell division.
  • Asexual reproduction by zoospore, aplanospores, or akinetes.
  • Sexual reprodcuction though rare, may be isogamous, anisogamous, or oogamous. Isogamy is common.  Both iso and anisogamy are found in Botridium.

Examples: Vaucheria, Tribonema, Botrydium

Vegetative Structure – Vaucheria

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