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Name derivation:

“Fire cell” – Fire Pyro-  cell –cystis


Pyrocystis  Haeckel  1890;  16 of 28 species descriptions are currently accepted taxonomically (Guiry and Guiry 20130.

Order Pyrocystales;  Family Pyrocystaceae


Coccoid unicells, lanceolate or lunate, photosynthetic with many chloroplasts, bioluminescent, and  variable in size from 30 to 1000 µm.

Similar genera:

Dissodinium (parasite) secondary cysts.


Marine plankton.


Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2013.  AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.  http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 8 November 2013.

Haeckel E. (1890). Plankton Studien. Jenaische Zeitschrift für Naturwissenschaft 25: 232-336.