Euglenas are unique unicellular or single-celled organisms with both plant and animal features. Typified as a member of the protozoan order, Euglenida is classified as a member of the algal division, Euglenophyta. Euglenas possess elongated cell with one nucleus that contains pigmented chloroplasts which helps in photosynthesis, a contractile vacuole for excretion, an eyespot to spot sunlight and flagella for movement. Certain species of Euglena may appear red under sunlight, which is primarily because of the presence of large amount of carotenoid pigment. Euglenas are asexual, that is, they multiply through cell division. Euglena lives in fresh and brackish water rich in organic matter and often appears as green or red ‘blooms’ in ponds or lakes. Several species produce breathing vesicles that can resist drying. Euglenas ingest food into the gullet and basically serve as a food source for fish and other marine critters. If you want to know more about this amazing organism, read on and come across some of the most interesting information about them.
Length: 60-120 mm
Lifespan: 3 weeks
Diet: Make their own food
Habitat: Quiet ponds and puddles
Interesting & Amazing Information On Euglena
- Euglenas are elliptical bodied unicellular organisms with pear-shaped anterior and slender posterior. Their exterior part of the cell membrane comprises of a taut pellicle that enables them to retain their shape.
- O.F. Müller offered a thorough description of the organism in 1786, and named it Cercaria viridis. He found the organism to have a distinctive color and changeable body shape.
- In 1831, a scientist named Georg Klebs offered a primary taxonomical distinction between green and colorless flagellate organisms, and established characteristic distinction between photosynthesizing Euglenoids and those who live by phagotrophy.
- Like plants, euglenas too derive their characteristic green tint from the chloroplasts present in their cells. However, unlike plants, these organisms have no cell wall made of cellulose.
- Euglenas have long flagellated structure connected to the right end of their anterior that help them to propel through water.
- Though euglenas generally appear to be green in color, a microscopic observation can reveal a riot of colors underneath. Euglenas possess a number of organelles, usually purple in color, which perform several important cellular activities. The cell also contains pink colored nucleolus that is present in the nucleus and a light yellow colored viscous fluid known as cytoplasm.
- Euglena is both autotrophic as well as heterotrophic. To put it in layman’s words, euglena can produce its own food as well as feed on the food produced by nature.
- The small rod like structures visible in their body is nothing but chloroplasts that helps them to make their own food in presence of sunlight, in short, helps them in photosynthesis. In absence of proper sunlight, euglenas go around in water hunting for food.
- One of the most interesting facts about euglena is its eyespot, which is actually a pigmented organelle found in the anterior and is highly sensitive towards light. This eyespot helps it to detect sunlight for photosynthesis.
- Euglena has a star shaped cell at the rear end of its cell, which is basically orange in color and is called contractile vacuole. This assists in excretion.
- Euglena reproduces through a process of cell division known as mitosis. The cell splits into halves that lead to the formation of another euglena. Euglena requires warm atmospheric temperature and adequate amount of food to reproduce.
- The Euglenas have an uncanny ability to survive in both fresh and marine water and can quite easily adapt themselves to the surrounding environment. Where the moisture content is low they develop protective wall around themselves and go on hibernation until the climatic conditions become conducive for them.
- Several of the Euglenas have been classified as mixotrophs, which means they become autotrophs in sunlight and heterotrophs in the dark.