By Robert B. McLaughlin

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The largest diatoms are found among such genera as Coscinodiscus, Thalassiothrix, Rhizosolenia, and Isthmia. Among the largest are Coscinodiscus rex, Thalassiothrix longissima, and T. antarctica which in the largest dimensions are more than 3000 micrometers (3 millimeters). These are very large indeed when a diatom of 500 micrometers diameter is ordinarily considered very large. The smallest diatoms are usually found among the Achnanthes, Fragilaria, Navicula, and Melosira. Many species of these genera are 20 micrometers or Albert Collier Alice Murphy less in their largest dimension.

In diatoms in which only one valve has an actual raphe, the other valve often exhibits an axial area that is narrow and somewhat on the order of a raphe in appearance. In these diatoms that hyaline axial area is designated the pseudoraphe. The striae and other valve markings on the pseudoraphe or rapheless valve may be identical with those on the raphe valve in their distribution and relative location, or they may be quite dissimilar. The genera Achnanthes, Cocconeis, and Rhoicosphenia show examples of this type of structure.

Band. internally, and the outer mucilage covering of the These are bands of frustule, probably in most cases, keep these complex silica that sit between structures together in the living state. This assumption the valve and the however does not offer a complete explanation of the girdle band or between way these structures are kept intact, as even when girdle bands. They cleaned vigorously, some of the most complex may or may not exist structures hold together. The means by which this part and there may be a variable number.

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