Ventricaria ventricosa, commonly known as Sailor’s Eyeballs, is the largest single-celled algae in the world. Its structure is based on a hard-shelled crust that shines like glass and is filled with a plasma-like fluid that builds one single cell.
Looking into them might remind of looking into a crystal ball or an alternative universe.

Sailor’s Eyeballs   © Ülar Tikk

There are two species that occur on reefs throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific on coral and rocky reefs where they are attached to the substrate by hair-like filaments called rhizoids.
They are often encrusted with other algae growing on them which can indicate the age of the organism that may reach up to 5cm in diameter.

Sailor’s Eyeballs undergo an interesting process of asexual reproduction. Daughter cells grow inside the parent, which divides its cell to release the new plants.
Other names for this single-celled organism are: Green Algae, Single Cell Amoeba, Bubble Algae and Sea Pearl.

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