Members of the Unikonta, a taxonomic group proposed by Thomas Cavalier-Smith

Unikonts are one of the five superkingdoms in the classification of eukaryotes. They are part of the taxonomy system of Thomas Cavalier-Smith.[1][2]

Orange elephant ear sponge, Agelas clathrodes, in foreground. Two corals in the background: a sea fan, Iciligorgia schrammi, and a sea rod, Plexaurella nutans.
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): Unikonta
Cavalier-Smith, 2002
  • Amorphea Adl et al., 2012
  • Opimoda Derelle et al., 2015

The term is no longer used. It is replaced by the term Amorphea.[3]

The group is claimed to be a clade. It includes eukaryotic cells that:

The unikonts include opisthokonts (animals, fungi, and related forms) and Amoebozoa. By contrast other well-known eukaryotic groups are often referred to as bikonts. Bikonts include Archaeplastida (plants and relatives), Excavata, Rhizaria, and Chromalveolata. These groups may have two flagella (although there are many exceptions).



The unikonts have a triple-gene fusion that is lacking in the bikonts. The three genes code for enzymes which make pyrimidine nucleotides. This must have involved a double gene fusion, a rare pair of events, which supports the shared ancestry of Opisthokonta and Amoebozoa.


  1. Cavalier-Smith T (2002). "The phagotrophic origin of eukaryotes and phylogenetic classification of Protozoa". Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 52 (Pt 2): 297–354. doi:10.1099/00207713-52-2-297. PMID 11931142. Archived from the original on 2017-07-29. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  2. Cavalier-Smith, Thomas (2003). "Protist phylogeny and the high-level classification of Protozoa". European Journal of Protistology. 39 (4): 338–348. doi:10.1078/0932-4739-00002.
  3. Roger AJ, Simpson AG 2009. Evolution: revisiting the root of the eukaryote tree. Current Biology. 19 (4): R165–R167. PMID 19243692 [1]