SUMMARY: The establishment and components of the rumen ciliate population in a series of young animals has been followed using intra-ruminal inoculation with rumen material, and for comparison purposes the ciliate population in a number of adult ruminants has been examined. The fact that the ciliates and spp., though not host specific, did not form a stable mixed population was noted and experiments were carried out to examine the antogonism between certain of these organisms. The cause of the antagonism was not determined but cannibalism, food competition, or gross bacterial change did not seem to be responsible. It was found that the population of an adult animal could be changed by inoculation but the relationship between the ciliates appeared to be in some way affected by the host. It is concluded that inter-relationships of the type described may play an important role in determining the components of a particular rumen microfauna.


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