BACKGROUND : The present studies initially show the induction of dwarf forms from the disrupted cells of the large unicellular organism, Stentor coeruleus. The dwarf cells placed in a toxic solution showed evidence of cell death. Within minutes a morphological replicate of the cell separates and subsequently fades. METHODS : Dehydration of the commercially available Stentor media in deep well slides (n = 9) caused disruption of the large cells. Rehydration with sterile media allowed formation of mobile dwarf forms. The latter (n = 9) placed in a toxic solution lost mobility and showed evidence of cell death, i.e., apoptosis. Deep well slides (n = 9) containing sterile Stentor media were used as controls. RESULTS : In the slides following dehydration/ rehydration of the living Stentor media, 7of 9 showed mobile dwarf cells compared to 0 of 9 with the sterile media alone, p < 0.05). Within 8-12 min, the stationary dwarf cell progressively released a morphological replicate of the dead cell which contained entrapped bacteria. Subsequent fading of the replicate allowed dispersion of the bacteria. CONCLUSIONS : These findings provide evidence that cell death indicated by apopotosis (blebbing) is followed by a sequence consisting of the progressive separation of a replicate image which is initially visible then becoming a progressively non-visible, faded image.