Machemer-Röhnisch S, Bräucker R, Machemer H (1993): Neutral gravitaxis of Loxodes striatus exposed to normal and raised gravity

In the statocystoid-bearing, flat ciliate Loxodes, the peculiar steady locomotion on submersed substrates (called "gliding") was investigated between 1 g and 5.4 g under controlled environmental conditions in a centrifuge microscope. Videorecordings of the movements of large cell populations were processed with an automated analysis procedure. At 1 g, possible sedimentation was fully compensated, and vertical shifts of the population were neutralized because upward and downward orientations of the cells occurred at equal proportions ("neutral gravitaxis"). With rising gravity the resultant velocity of upward gliding cells remained unchanged, whereas the velocity of downward gliding cells increased continuously. Long-term exposure to hypergravity did not generate detectable signs of adaptation. The bipolar orientation of Loxodes persisted under even fivefold normal gravity, but the axis of orientation rotated from the gravity axis in the counterclockwise direction. The data suggest that both gravikinesis and graviorientation of gliding Loxodes are instrumental in perfect neutralization of sedimentation at terrestrial conditions.