genus of Protozoa

Amoeba (plural = amoebae) is a well known genus of unicellular organism, a protist. One of its most common species, the Amoeba Proteus, is about 0.2 to 0.3 mm large. The amoeba was first discovered by August Von Rosenhof in 1757.[1] It is a genus of protozoa that moves with false feet, called pseudopodia.

Diagram of amoeba structure

The amoeba is a member of a whole group of amoeboid eukaryotic protists called Amoebozoa. They are heterotrophs, eating bacteria and other protists.

The pseudopodia (false feet) are extensions of the organism's cell membrane. They are used by the amoeba for phagocytosis (active food/nutrient intake) and motility (self-propelled movement).

Amoebae are often found within freshwater, typically on vegetation in decay in still or slow moving water, or in the benthic zone of some lakes. However, they are common organisms of study because it is easy to keep them in a laboratory. They are used to study sex protozoa and to demonstrate cell structure and function.

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  1. Leidy, Joseph (1878). "Amoeba proteus". The American Naturalist. 12 (4): 235–238. doi:10.1086/272082. JSTOR 2463786. S2CID 222321758.