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Entamoeba histolytica: example of amoeboid protozoan
What they are - biological definition
Also known as Sarcodines, the Amoeboids are protozoa, that is, they belong to the Protist Kingdom.
Key Features of Amoeboids:
- Locomotion occurs through pseudopods (from Greek pseudo which means false and pruning which corresponds to walking). This type of locomotion is known as amoeboid movement.
- Capture food using pseudopods through the process of phagocytosis.
- They feed on algae, protozoa, bacteria and dead protoplasm.
- They have the ability to modify body shape, so they have no defined shape.
- Some species live in rivers and oceans, while others are parasites of living beings.
- They have a simple structure, consisting of: nucleus, contractile vacuole, food vacuole, endoplasma, ectoplasm and pseudopods.
- Body composed of hypertonic cells, causing water to enter the amoebas through the osmosis process. Excess water is eliminated by the contractile vacuole.
- Reproduction of most species of amoeboid protozoa occurs through binary division. In this system, an amoeba splits in half, giving rise to two others.
- Amoeboid protozoa are very small (microscopic). Most of them measure between 0.2 and 0.5 millimeters in diameter.
Examples of amoeboid protozoa:
- Amoeba proteus - freshwater protozoan
- Arcella vulgaris - Freshwater amoeba.
- Filamoeba sp.
- Hartmanella - free-living amoeboid protozoan (present in freshwater).
- Acanthamoeba - free-living amoeba (present in freshwater).
Major diseases caused in humans:
- Amoebiasis - caused by protozoan Entamoeba histolytica that causes diarrhea.
- Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis - caused by amoeba Naegleria fowleri.
- The amoeboid movement seen in these protozoa is similar to what happens with white blood cells (leukocytes) in humans.