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Cilia are numerous short extensions of the plasma membrane used for locomotion and other purposes.[1]

Most mucous membranes, such as those in the nose, are covered with cilia to create a constant flow of mucus.

Cilia cover the "foot" of a snail and are used to move the snail slowly along. Cilia are used for the slow locomotion of flatworms such as planaria.

Within bivalves, cilia create a constant flow of water over various filtering and sorting surfaces and move and separate food particles from the water.

Cilia cover protozoans such as the paramecium. Paramecia give the impression of moving quickly when viewed under a microscope, but in actuality they move, literally, at a snail's pace. The microscope, of course, magnifies their motion as well as their size.


  1. Wile, Dr. Jay L. Exploring Creation With Biology. Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. 1998