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image credit: D. Tighe, iNaturalist



Genus: Gonyaulax | Dinoflagellate


Common West Coast species: G. spinifera, G. polyedra

Order: Gonyaulacales

Family: Gonyaulacaceae


Click on illustration to enlarge

Description: Armored, ovoid to fusiform cells with chloroplasts. Some species form benthic cysts. Distinguished by descending cingulum up to 6x girdle width.

Cell Size: Width 25-140um

Distribution: Widespread throughout the world's oceans.

Synonym: Gonyaulax polyedra = Lingulodinium polyedra

Interesting fact: Gonyaulax spinifera can produce toxins.

This Phytoplankton Identification page is affiliated with CeNCOOS and HABMAP, and is maintained by the Kudela Lab at the University of California Santa Cruz. Details about site history, funding, and sources of information and images can be found here.