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Nannochloropsis sp.
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): SAR
Subkingdom: Halvaria
(unranked): Stramenopiles
Division: Ochrophyta
Subdivision: Phaeista
Class: Eustigmatophyceae
Hibberd & Leedale, 1971

Eustigmatophytes are a small group (12 genera; ~41 species) of eukaryotic algae that includes marine, freshwater and soil-living species.[1][2]

All eustigmatophytes are unicellular, with coccoid cells and polysaccharide cell walls. Eustigmatophytes contain one or more yellow-green chloroplasts, which contain chlorophyll a and the accessory pigments violaxanthin and β-carotene. Eustigmatophyte zoids (gametes) possess a single or pair of flagella, originating from the apex of the cell. Unlike other heterokontophytes, eustigmatophyte zoids do not have typical photoreceptive organelles (or eyespots); instead an orange-red eyespot outside a chloroplast is located at the anterior end of the zoid.

Ecologically, eustigmatophytes occur as photosynthetic autotrophs across a range of systems. Most eustigmatophyte genera live in freshwater or in soil, although Nannochloropsis contains marine species of picophytoplankton (2 → 4 μm).

The class was erected to include some algae previously classified in the Xanthophyceae.[3]



  1. ^ Hoek, C. van den, Mann, D. G. and Jahns, H. M. (1995). Algae : An introduction to phycology, Cambridge University Press, UK.
  2. ^ Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. (2016). "Eustigmatales". AlgaeBase. National University of Ireland, Galway. 
  3. ^ Hoek, C. van den et al., p. 131.
  4. ^ Hegewald E., Padisák J., Friedl T. 2007. Pseudotetraëdriella kamillae: taxonomy and ecology of a new member of the algal class Eustigmatophyceae (Stramenopiles). Hydrobiologia 586 (1): 107—116.