Volvox

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Volvox are colonial flagellates and a very popular organism for classroom observations.  The colony is large, measuring from 100-6000 microns across.

The colony is comprised of many single, bi-flagellated cells connected together by protoplasmic strands.  It forms a hollow, green sphere.  Individual cells have a red eyespot and, with chloroplasts, can make food from sunlight.  Daughter colonies grow within this main colony and eventually break free and develop as a parent colony. 

Small animals like rotifers prey on the Volvox.

The cells are vegetative (i.e. they do not reproduce) except for a few near the back, which develop into new colonies.  Eventually the parent bursts and the daughter colonies evert.  Sexual reproduction is oogamous - one gender produces small motile gametes and the other non-motile gametes. 

Volvox is found in ponds and ditches, and even in shallow rain puddles. 
Volvox are readily available from science supply companies.

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