A single-celled organism with two flagella, occurring in large numbers in marine plankton and also found in fresh water. Some produce toxins that can accumulate in shellfish, resulting in poisoning when eaten.
Division Dinophyta or class Dinophyceae, division Chromophycota (or phylum Dinophyta, kingdom Protista)‘Other unicellular organisms found include bacteria, cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates, and other protists.’
- ‘Ninety percent of all dinoflagellates are marine plankton.’
- ‘As with other peridinioid dinoflagellates, calcareous dinoflagellate cysts most likely all have an archeopyle restricted to the epicyst.’
- ‘Current thinking in the phylogeny of protists places the dinoflagellates in the Alveolates, along with the Apicomplexa, Ciliata, and Foraminifera.’
- ‘The plants are tiny single-celled algae, the zooxanthellae or symbiotic dinoflagellates, that live within the tissues of corals in great numbers.’
Late 19th century (as an adjective): from modern Latin Dinoflagellata (plural), from Greek dinos ‘whirling’ + Latin flagellum ‘small whip’ (see flagellum).