Studies on the complementary mating types of Paramecium primaurelia (Protozoa, Ciliates) have shown that cell lines which differ from each other in mating type expression are characterized by different cell contents, organization, and physiology. Referring to these differences and to the differential rates of food vacuole formation, oral apparatuses of the two mating type cells are assumed to possibly differ from each other in some traits, such as, for instance, in their lengths. In our work, the highly organized oral structures are analyzed by means of a laser scanning confocal optical microscope (CLSM), which provides their 3-D visualization and measurement. The extraction of the 3-D intrinsic information related to the biological objects under investigation can be in turn related to their functional state, according to the classical paradigm of structure to function relationships identification. In our experiments, we acquired different data sets. These are optical slices of the biological sample under investigation, acquired in a confocal situation, through epi-illumination, in reflection, and, for comparison with conventional microscopy, 2-D images acquired via a standard TV camera coupled to the microscope itself. Our CLSM system is equipped with a laser beam at 488 and 514 nm and the data have been acquired with various steps of optical slicing, ranging from .04 to .25 micrometers. The volumes obtained by piling-up the slices are rendered through different techniques, some of them directly implemented on the workstation controlling the CLSM system, some of them on a SUN SPARC station 1, where the original data were transferred via an Ethernet link. In this last instance, original software has been developed for the visualization and animation of the 3-D structures, running under UNIX and X-Window, according to a ray-tracing algorithm.