What are Euglena Amoebe and Paramecium

Biology & chemistry


micro * scope

An American website with a lot of very good microscopic pictures. Recommendable, although the site structure seems a little "getting used to".

Caenomorpha sapropelica

Life between animals and plants

Protozoa (primeval animals; most primitive eukaryotes)

  • unicellular
  • microscopic (exceptions! → e.g. giant amoeba 2-3 mm)
  • plasmatic cell body and "cell cortex"
  • at least one real, clearly demarcated cell nucleus with a nuclear membrane
  • Ento- and ectoplasm

An instructive and very interesting documentation about amoebas, paramecia, sack-wheeled animals, red and blue trumpet animals, shrub bells, vase animals, copepods, plankton and their coexistence.

Source: YouTube video from proconiswarman • uploaded on September 26, 2012


  • ER and ribosomes (= ergastoplasm)
  • Mitochondria ("power plants")
  • Dictyosomes → Golgi apparatus (synthesis of polysaccharides for cell walls in plants; secretion)
  • Centrioles
  • often with pellicle - one or more folded membranes, reinforced with proteins
  • Lysosomes
  • Microtubules; at least in best. Phases of the cell cycle

Surviving dry periods as cysts or spores

  • Protective cover made of organic material (phosphoproteins, cellulose, tanned lipoproteins)

Permanent protective structures

  • Cases, cases, skeletons, etc.
  • Gelatinous or membranous mass of proteins and mucopolysaccharides encrusted with foreign bodies
  • or from calcium carbonate and silica


  • Pseudopodia → amoeba
  • Flagellates → flagellates
  • Eyelashes → ciliates
  • some have contractile fibrils → rapid and vigorous body movements

Amoeba proteus (Amoeba)

source: The amoeba
Detailed monograph by Bernd W. Krysmanski, with further links to interesting websites

► Root pods


  • up to approx. 1 mm
  • bare, barely differentiated lumps of protoplasm
  • without a fixed form
  • on aquatic plants, the bottom of the water, in the mud of pools but also in moist soil
  • They catch prey, bacteria and other unicellular organisms by flowing their pseudopods around them and then trapping them in their bodies within food vacuoles and digesting them.
Amoeba in motion

Source: YouTube video by Dr. Ralf Wagner • uploaded on April 30, 2008

Phagocytosis: Amoeba eats a paramecium

Source: YouTube video from olivtitia • uploaded on October 17, 2009


source: The eye animal
Detailed monograph by Bernd W. Krysmanski

► Flagellata (flagellates) 60 to 500 µm

Euglena (eye animals)

E. viridis or E. spirogyra → 60-125 µm

[from Greek euglenos = with beautiful eyeballs]

In the still warm primeval oceans of the ancient world, microscopic creatures, the protozoa, formed about 3.5 billion years ago. These protozoa, half animal, half plant, then separated into the group of consumers (animals) and those of producers (plants).

E. belongs to a division (Euglenophyta) with> 800 known species


  • mostly in fresh water
  • nutrient-rich stagnant waters:
    • Village pond, manure puddles
    • are often green → mass reproduction of E.



  • solidified but elastic "cell cortex" (no cell wall as in plant cells!)
  • from a combination of a membrane (or several?) and proteins (helical protein strips)
  • The pellicle consists of the outer - folded - membrane, its underlying microtubules and a number of filament systems that have not yet been characterized. Underneath these transverse filaments is the tubular endoplasmic reticulum, which is connected to the micotubules. (H. Quader, 1983, unpublished.)
Euglena viridis

Source: YouTube video by TheMicrobiology09 • uploaded on May 22, 2011


Panel painting


  • lenticular
  • green colour
  • Chromatophores (chroma large color; carry phorein large → pigment-rich cells)
  • they always contain chlorophyll → chloroplasts
  • other chromatophores also contain xanthophyll or carotenoids
    → Color: green, but also brown or red

Paramylon grains (Paramylum)

  • starch-like substance → food reserve
  • Paramylon or Paramylum is a reserve material found in Euglenophyceae and calcareous algae (Haptophyta) that is used as an energy reserve. The name is derived from the Greek para (next to, at) and mylos (mill). Paramylon consists of chain-like linked D-glucose molecules, so it is a carbohydrate or polysaccharide. While in the starch of green plants and red algae the glucose is α-1 → 4- and α-1 → 6-glycosidically linked, the paramylon of the Euglenophyceae and the calcareous algae consists of β-1 → 3-glycosidically linked glucose. In the above-mentioned organisms, the storage material is deposited in the cytoplasm in the form of spheres, the so-called paramylon granules.

pulsating vacuole

  • Vesicles with liquid
  • swells rhythmically (diastole)
  • empties outwards (systole)
    • Osmosis regulation
    • Expelling excess water
    • Relatives of Euglena who live in the sea lack this vacuole!


  • autotroph → plants: photosynthesis + cellular respiration
  • heterotroph → animals: organic nutrients + cellular respiration
  • amphitroph → Euglena stands between plant and animal
  • E. can lose photosynthesis ability if there is a lack of light → absorption and digestion of organic nutrients: decaying animal and plant substances, bacteria, small algae
  • Nutrient absorption (permeation) via the cell cortex: invagination → a food vacuole is created = gastriole
  • Endocytosis
    • Phagocytosis: solids (phagein gr. Eat; kytos gr. Cell)
    • Pinocytosis: drops of liquid (drink pinein gr.)


  • Lysosomes carry digestive enzymes from the ER to the gastrioles
  • Absorption of the digests by micropinocytosis
  • Removal of residues (NH3) via the cell surface or with the pulsating vacuole


  • scourge
    • arises in the scourge sac
    • Basal body (kinetosome)

Sense of light ("eye animals")

  • Photoreceptor: swelling at the base of the scourge (→ Paraflagellar bodies)
  • Stigma (eye spot); next to it in the plasma at the edge of a chromatophore orange-red pigment spot → auxiliary organelle of the sense of light
  • Euglena turns to the light in his movement
  • this allows the chloroplasts to work better with higher light intensity
  • Improvement of photosynthesis → Organelles work together as a system
  • to keep the photosynthesis rate high, Euglena aligns herself with the light →regulation


  • Longitudinal division (potentially immortal)
    • Scourge is dismantled
    • The core is divided into 2 daughter cores
    • Cell body constricts lengthways
    • two independent daughter cells of the same size arise
    • Scourges are newly formed
    • Cells grow up
    • Euglena is thus potentially immortal
    • The “complexity” of an organism does not depend on the number of chromosomes. Wheat has 42 chromosomes, a carp even 104. The roundworm gets by with 2 chromosomes, the fruit fly "Drosophila melanogaster" with 8; on the other hand, the eye animal Euglena has 200 chromosomes.
  • sexual reproduction not yet proven !?

► St. ciliates (ciliates)



Here you can find a very good microscopic picture with paramecia as well as an excellent film that shows the "work" of the contractile vacuole of the paramecia. Must see!


Large electron microscope image

Paramecium caudatum

source: Kükenthal, Renner: Guide for the zoological internship, Gustav Fischer Verlag, 1982

Paramecium (paramecium)

e.g. Paramecium caudatum

  • 50 to 320 µm
  • much more differentiated
  • very sophisticated
  • fixed shape, fixed boundary
  • Cell mouth and after
  • pulsating vacuole
  • can swim very quickly at the blink of an eye
  • nutrient-rich fresh water (sea?) and soil

Conjugation of sexual "multiplication" → Remane, Storsch, Welsch p. 243

  • Macronucleus → polyploid
  • Micronucleus → diploid

Source: YouTube video by MrInsight1979 • uploaded on October 9, 2010


Youtube video (as above)

As tiny organisms, unicellular organisms show almost unbelievable abilities:

You can moveMove
breathe, eat, digest and excrete with the whole body;metabolism
they growgrowth
and multiply,Multiplication
absorb sensory stimuliirritability
and relate to them.Regulatory ability

As an open system, a single cell is independently viable and able to adapt to environmental conditions.

Identification of the plant cell

  • Cell wall made of cellulose
  • Chloroplasts (photosynthesis, chlorophyll) → autotrophic
  • Vacuole (osmosis regulation, water excretion)
  • Carbohydrate stores, starch granules, paramylon bodies, pyrenoid

Characteristics of animal cells

  • Food intake, digestion → heterotrophic
  • Organelles for movement → flagella, cilia, pseudopodia
  • “Sensory organelles” → stigma, photoreceptor

- Kükenthal, Renner: Guidelines for the zoological internship, Gustav Fischer Verlag (1982)
- Remane, Storch, Welsch: Systematic Zoology, Gustav Fischer Verlag (1986)
- Remane, Storch, Welsch: Short textbook of zoology, Gustav Fischer Verlag (1985)