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Hypotrich w.jpg
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): SAR
(unranked): Alveolata
Phylum: Ciliophora
Class: Spirotrichea
Subclass: Hypotrichia
Stein 1859 emend.
Typical orders


The hypotrichs are a group of ciliate protozoa, included among the spirotrichs. Most are oval in shape, with a rigid pellicle, and have cirri (bundles of cilia) distributed in isolated tufts on the ventral surface of the cell. Some also have dorsal cilia, which function as sensory bristles. Euplotes and Aspidisca are common genera. Like other ciliates, hypotrichs reproduce by cell division and conjugation.

Late stage of hypotrich division
Two hypotrichs in conjugation

The hypotrichs were first defined by Friedrich von Stein in 1859. Originally the stichotrichs, which also have cirri, were included here, but they were separated out by Small & Lynn, 1981, who placed the restricted hypotrichs among the Nassophorea because of various peculiarities in their infraciliature. More recent schemes reverse this move, and some molecular studies suggest they may be paraphyletic to the stichotrichs as currently defined.