Ciliates are unicellular eukaryotes known for their cellular complexity and wide range of natural habitats. How they adapt to their niches and what roles they play in ecology remain largely unknown. The genus Tetrahymena is among the best-studied groups of ciliates and one particular species, Tetrahymena thermophila, is a well-known laboratory model organism in cell and molecular biology, making it an excellent candidate for study in protist ecology. Here, based on cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COX1) gene barcoding, we identify a total of 19 different putative Tetrahymena species and two closely related Glaucoma lineages isolated from distinct natural habitats, of which 13 are new species. These latter include 11 Tetrahymena species found in the bladder traps of Utricularia plants, the most species-rich and widely distributed aquatic carnivorous plant, thus revealing a previously unknown but significant symbiosis of Tetrahymena species living among the microbial community of Utricularia bladder traps. Additional species were collected using an artificial trap method we have developed. We show that diverse Tetrahymena species may live even within the same habitat and that their populations are highly dynamic, suggesting that the diversity and biomass of species worldwide is far greater than currently appreciated.