Gymnodinium sanguineum is an athecate species; i.e. without thecal plates. This species is highly variable in size and shape. Cells are large dorso-ventrally flattened and roughly pentagonal (Figs. 1-3). An apical groove is present (Fig. 2). Cells range in size from 40-80 µm in length.
The epitheca and hypotheca are nearly equal in size. The epitheca is rounded and conical, and the hypotheca is deeply indented by the sulcus creating two posterior lobes (Figs. 1, 2). The median cingulum is left-handed and displaced 1-2 times its width (Figs. 2, 4). The sulcus does not invade the epitheca, but expands posteriorly into the hypotheca.
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