• Category
  • Length Range
    31-121 µm
  • Width Range
    4.5-9.3 µm
  • Striae in 10 µm
  • Synonyms
    Diatoma vulgaris var. ehrenbergii (Kütz.) Grunow 1862
  • Reported As
    Diatoma vulgare var. grande (Patrick and Reimer 1966, p. 110, Pl. 2, Figs. 13-14)



Valves are narrow and elongate becoming lanceolate in smaller valves. Apices are broadly rounded sub-rostrate to capitate. Costae are mostly primary, and number 9-15 in 10 µm. Secondary and tertiary costae are commonly present. A single rimoportula is present, oriented perpendicular to the apical axis, near one of the apices. Striae are uniseriate, not visible in LM. Apical porefields are present at each apex. Frustules are attached to the substratum, or joined in zig-zag colonies by mucilage.


Originally described from Europe, there are only a few verified records of D. ehrenbergii in the United States. We observed D. ehrenbergii growing in the epilithon in the littoral zone of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

Live populations are often seen in girdle view forming zigzag chains. Careful focus is required to observe the rostrate ends that distinguish this taxon from other species of Diatoma.

Diehrenbergii Preserved
Credit: David Burge
Healthy cells have discoid chloroplasts which become reduced and lose their golden brown color under formaldehyde preservation.
Grmirais  Oct23 2015  33
Credit: David Burge
Recently collected specimens shown to illustrate colony formation and discoid chloroplasts.

Original Description

DIATOMA EHRENBERGII. Taf. 17. Fig. XVII. 1-3. (420/1). D. affixum, stipite minutulo; articulis validis medium versus parum contractis, a latere secundario in media parte dilatatis, prope apices capitatos contractis, isthmo pulvinato distinctissimo concatenatis; striis in 1/106'" 11.

  • Author
    Kütz. 1844

Original Images

Diatoma ehrenbergii orig illus
Diehrenb Originaltext

Cite This Page

Burge, D, and Edlund, M. (2015). Diatoma ehrenbergii. In Diatoms of North America. Retrieved July 22, 2018, from https://diatoms.org/species/diatoma_ehrenbergii


The 15 response plots show an environmental variable (x axis) against the relative abundance (y axis) of Diatoma ehrenbergii from all the stream reaches where it was present. Note that the relative abundance scale is the same on each plot. Explanation of each environmental variable and units are as follows:

ELEVATION = stream reach elevation (meters)
STRAHLER = distribution plot of the Strahler Stream Order
SLOPE = stream reach gradient (degrees)
W1_HALL = an index that is a measure of streamside (riparian) human activity that ranges from 0 - 10, with a value of 0 indicating of minimal disturbance to a value of 10 indicating severe disturbance.
PHSTVL = pH measured in a sealed syringe sample (pH units)
log_COND = log concentration of specific conductivity (µS/cm)
log_PTL = log concentration of total phosphorus (µg/L)
log_NO3 = log concentration of nitrate (µeq/L)
log_DOC = log concentration of dissolved organic carbon (mg/L)
log_SIO2 = log concentration of silicon (mg/L)
log_NA = log concentration of sodium (µeq/L)
log_HCO3 = log concentration of the bicarbonate ion (µeq/L)
EMBED = percent of the stream substrate that is embedded by sand and fine sediment
log_TURBIDITY = log of turbidity, a measure of cloudiness of water, in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU).
DISTOT = an index of total human disturbance in the watershed that ranges from 1 - 100, with a value of 0 indicating of minimal disturbance to a value of 100 indicating severe disturbance.