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Protozoa

Protozoa


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Trypanosome: example of flagellated protozoan

Introduction - what they are and general characteristics

Protozoa are unicellular microorganisms (composed of only one cell) and eukaryotes (with organized cell nucleus). Members of the Protist Kingdom, these beings move through flagella, pseudopods (false feet) or eyelashes. Many species of protozoa are microscopic.

Protozoa are heterotrophs, that is, they do not have the ability to make their own food, having to feed (through ingestion or absorption) from other beings.

Main protozoan species:

Rhizopods

Movement occurs through pseudopods and many species cause disease in humans.

Examples: amoeba (cause of amoebiasis disease).

Flagellates

The movement occurs through flagella. They are also capable of causing disease in humans.

Examples: giardia (causing giardiasis), leishmania (causing leishmaniasis) and trypanosome (causing Chagas disease).

Sporozoa

They are unicellular invertebrates that live like parasites.

Examples: Plasmodium (causer of malaria).

Ciliates

The movement of these animals is performed through the eyelashes.

Example: balanthids (cause of dysentery).

Biological curiosity:

The word protozoan is derived from the Greek and means "first animal". In Greek proto means "first" and zoon means "animal".

Balantidium coli: protozoan that causes infection in the human intestine.