How Far Do Ciliate Flagships Sail?: A Proposed Gondawanaland Endemic Species at Anchor in Idaho Soils

Document Type


Publication Date



In terms of protist biogeography, “flagship species” (Foissner 2005) have been defined as those so remarkable or “showy” that they are unlikely to be overlooked when present in a given habitat. On this basis, flagship species have been suggested as an ideal or ultimate test for the existence of protist endemism. One example of a flagship ciliate is the terrestrial lepidosome-bearing trachelophyllid, Luporinophrys micelae, previously thought to be a Gondwanan endemic. This report comprises a morphologic description of two populations of L. micelae from Laurentian soils (Idaho, Northwest USA). The flagship concept is briefly reviewed and ciliate biogeography is discussed in light of these findings.