All protozoans are heterotrophs and live as predators or parasites. They are believed to be primitive relatives of animals. There are four major groups of protozoans.

Examples of Protozoans

 I. Amoeboid protozoans: These organisms live in fresh water, sea water or moist soil. They move and capture their prey by putting out pseudopodia (false feet) as in Amoeba. Marine forms have silica shells on their surface. Some of them such as Entamoeba are parasites.

Examples of Amoeboid protozoans:
  • Amoeba
  • Entamoeba
  • Pelomyxa

 II. Flagellated protozoans: The members of this group are either free-living or parasitic. They have flagella. The parasitic forms cause diseases such as sleeping sickness.

Examples of Flagellated protozoans:

  •  Trypanosoma
  • Leishmania donovani

III. Ciliated protozoans: These are aquatic, actively moving organisms because of the presence of thousands of cilia. They have a cavity (gullet) that opens to the outside of the cell surface. The coordinated movement of rows of cilia causes the water laden with food to be steered into the gullet.

Examples of Ciliated protozoans

  • Paramecium
  • Vorticella
  • Opalina
  • Nyctotherus

IV. Sporozoans (Parasitic protozoans): This includes diverse organisms that have an infectious spore-like stage in their life cycle. The most notorious is Plasmodium (malarial parasite) which causes malaria, a disease which has a staggering effect on human population

Examples of Sporozoans:
  • Plasmodium
  • Eimeria
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