This taxon is usually periphytic or epipelic (Lowe 1974). It grows in extensive colonies, and the colonies are bound together by extensions from the raphe. Living colonies exhibit an accordian-like motion, which is unique amongst diatoms.
Vibrio paxillifer O. F. Mueller, Animal. Infus., p. 54. 1786.
This taxon is most abundant in coastal marine habitats, but is also occasionally noted in inland waters which have high conductivity. In the Great Lakes, specimens found so far come from the vicinity of river mouths. According to Lowe (1974), it prefers cold water between 0 and 15 degrees C ().