Sunday, January 14, 2018

Don't Hug an Amoeba

Seriously! It's a bad idea. Don't do it!

(Well, I suppose they're too small to do you any harm.)

Amoebas are a type of protist. What's a protist, you say? Protists are a diverse group of eukaryotic organisms who aren't considered plants or animals, and are simply classified together for convenience. "Oh, hi, Paramecium! Good to see you today! Hmm, you have a nucleus, and a membrane? Cool! Let's chuck you over into that bucket with Euglena and the other protists. Good day; watch out for the amoebas, I think they're hungry today!"

Paramecia are another type of protists. They're known for their cilia, the thousands of hair-like organelles that help them move and eat. They also have organelles that some protists don't have, such as oral grooves and anal pores. Interestingly enough, they also have two nuclei. If you do a quick web search, you'll also find that paramecia are the amoebas' favorite lunch.

Speaking of amoebas eating lunch, let's talk about how the amoeba creates pseudopodia. Firstly, the amoeba has two types of cytoplasm: endoplasm and ectoplasm. The ectoplasm is near the membrane (outer cytoplasm). To move, the amoebas push their ectoplasm to create pseudopods, which are also known as "false feet".

The amoeba also use these pseudopodia to eat. Instead of eating their food like a normal person - er, protist - they engulf their food with their pseudopods, and digest them by secreting enzymes through the cytoplasm to the food vacuole.

Lastly, the euglenas! These protists are, in my opinion, also highly fascinating. They are both autotrophs and heterotrophs, which means that they can consume food OR make their own! They also have a whip-like structure called a flagellum which helps them move.

Are you planning to attend the Protist Party? Don't worry too much about those paramecia. When they get mad at the amoebas, they protist peacefully, so it's all good.

*If you're having trouble with some of the words in this post, please visit these links:
Journey to the Center of the Cell post
Journey to the Center of the Cell story

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