• diatoms;
  • frustule;
  • girdle bands;
  • Navicula;
  • Naviculaceae;
  • phylogeny;
  • taxonomy;
  • valve morphology


Live and prepared cells of the marine pennate diatom Navicula complanatoides Hust. were examined with light and electron microscopy. It has narrowly lanceolate valves (26–55 μm long, 4–5 μm wide) and girdles 10–24 μm in depth. Striae are parallel at the center of the valve (24–28 in 10 μm), becoming slightly convergent toward the apices.

Electron microscopy revealed that the external valve surface presents a longitudinally ribbed appearance (20–28 parallel ribs at its maximum width), whereas internally, rectangular areolae are occluded by ricae. The raphe slit lies in a narrow axial area, and one side of the raphe sternum is deeper and folds over the other, obscuring the internal opening. Internally, the central virga on one side of the raphe and two virgae on the other are somewhat broader. A conspicuous pore (stigma) is present between the two broadened virgae.

The girdle consists of valvocopulae, copulae, and pleurae. There are 16–20 bands per cingulum. The valvocopulae and copulae are hollow tube-like structures, with inner and outer portions contrsting in morphology. They decrease in diameter in an abvalvar direction. There are four pleurae. These are flat bands which facilitate overlap of the epicingulum and hypocingulum.

Fundamental features of the valve and girdle reveal the distinctness of this species within Navicula. The areolae, external longitudinal ribs, and raphe structure suggest affinities with Pleurosigma, Gyrosigma, and Haslea. It is hypothesized that they share a derived state which indicates a recent common ancestor for these taxa. N. complanatoides and related species of the Naviculae microstigmatacae are distinctive enough to merit their own genus within the Naviculaceae.