The marine, tide pool-dwelling ciliate Stombidium oculatum was redescribed using live, stained, SEM, and TEM material prepared from samples collected from pools on the Isle of Man (Irish Sea) and Brittany (France). Also, we reviewed the older German and French works that reported on ciliates collected in the Mediterranean and Brittany, respectively. The Brittany and Isle of Man populations of the ciliate were considered identical. Some morphological and behavioural differences exist between the Brittany-Isle of Man populations and the Mediterranean populations, but they were insufficient to distinguish different taxa. Thus, taxa from all three locations were considered to be conspecific. Key features used to describe the ciliate were: morphology and ultrastructure of the free-swimming ciliate; cyst morphology; presence of mixotrophic-chloroplasts; presence of an eye spot composed of stigma obtained from chlorophyte prey; division, morphogenesis, and nuclear structure; live observations and behaviour, including the encystment-excystment cycle. Based on morphological and behavioural characteristics the taxon was distinguished from other similar species, and a neotype has been designated as no type material exists.
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Vol. 49 • No. 4