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Myzocytosis (from Greek: myzein, () meaning "to suck" and kytos () meaning "container", hence referring to "cell") is a method of feeding found in some heterotrophic organisms. It is also called "cellular vampirism" as the predatory cell pierces the cell wall and/or cell membrane of the prey cell with a feeding tube, the conoid, sucks out the cellular content and digests it.

Myzocytosis is found in Myzozoa[1] and also in some species of Ciliophora (both comprise the alveolates). A classic example of myzocytosis is the feeding method of the infamous predatory ciliate, Didinium, where it is often depicted devouring a hapless Paramecium. The suctorian ciliates were originally thought to have fed exclusively through myzocytosis, sucking out the cytoplasm of prey via superficially drinking straw-like pseudopodia. It is now understood that suctorians do not feed through myzocytosis, but actually, instead, manipulate and envenomate captured prey with their tentacle-like pseudopodia.[2]


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  2. ^ Rudzinska, M. A. (1973). "Do Suctoria Really Feed by Suction?". BioScience. 23 (2): 87-94. doi:10.2307/1296568. JSTOR 1296568. 

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