Stylonychia is a genus of ciliates which is common in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Tufts of fused cilia called cirri give the cell an insect-like appearance.
Ciliates are relatively rare to find in agricultural soil samples. Like all protozoa, they need water to live and move. A very thin film of water around the soil particles is enough, but more is better, and they are easier to find in soil that is frequently or consistently wet. If the soil is often very dry, the ciliates will need to enter a resting state known as a cyst, and wait for conditions to improve.
In this drawing I decided to include a robust fungal network and large pore spaces, indicators of a healthy, rich, well developed soil habitat. Soil like this supports a wide range of species, it's resilient to change, and can sequester a lot of carbon.
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