10.4 Structural Variation Atlas of Bacterial and Archaeal Cell Structure Home

Structural Variation

Not all phage tails are so long. Podophage (which this unidentified attacker of a Vibrio cholerae may be) have short tails that extend after docking to cross the host envelope. Other phage lack tails entirely.

Similarly, heads can look very different. The unique rocket-ship shape of this phage’s capsid highlights the diversity of phage morphology. Some, mostly infecting archaea in extreme environments, have heads shaped like bottles or lemons. Others take the form of long, thin filaments.