Volvox Art Gallery. Image from www.volvox-stnk.net/.
If you’ve ever seen Volvox alive under a microscope, you probably remember it. They are beautiful, huge (relative to most things in a drop of pond water), and seemingly purposeful as they roll across the field of view. Volvox and its relatives have also played important roles in some big scientific and philosophical discussions, such as the evolution of multicellularity, the evolution of cooperation, and the nature of biological individuality. Given all that, it’s probably not too surprising that the volvocine algae, and Volvox in particular, have inspired a lot of art, including paintings,