The amoeba is the most uncharacteristic of all microorganisms. Read below to learn some interesting facts about amoeba.

Amoeba Facts

Every fifth grader enters the world of microorganisms by learning about the amoeba. This shapeless blob of jelly-like organism holds enough fascination to steer the students into the amazing world of microbes. In fact, the amoeba is the most basic of all unicellular organisms. Its basic structures consist of a cellular fluid called cytoplasm. The cytoplasm in the amoeba occurs in two forms. First is the ectoplasm that acts as a membrane. It is clear and gel-like and occurs as the outer layer. The second is the endoplasm which is a watery and grainy mass and is present in the inner region. It is in the endoplasm that the various structures like organelles and nuclei are found. Depending upon the species, the amoeba may have one or more nuclei. Amoeba is a type of protozoa and belongs to the family of amoebidae. Many amoebas are parasitic and some of them can cause very severe infections. This micro-organism has always intrigued scientists and it is still a subject of several researches. To know more read below to learn a few interesting facts about the amoeba.
Interesting Facts About Amoeba
  • The name amoeba is derived from the Greek word ‘amoibe’, which means ‘to change’. Prior to that, amoeba was referred to as Proteus animalcule. Proteus is a Greek god, who could change shape.
  • The amoeba was first discovered in 1757 by August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof.
  • Amoeba is a unicellular organism. However, unlike other single-celled organisms, amoeba doesn’t have any fixed shape. It looks more like a blob of jelly.
  • The amoeba moves by constantly changing its body shape. This also helps it to gather food. When the amoeba changes its body shape, some parts extend to form pseudopods, which mean false legs. These pseudopods are responsible for the mobility of the amoeba.
  • The amoeba captures its prey by enclosing the micro-organism with its body. It, then, engulfs the prey.
  • The amoeba reproduces by dividing itself into two. This process is known as binary fission. Thus, it can be argued that technically the amoeba never dies.
  • Amoeba can be found in both fresh and salt water. They can also be found in animals including people.
  • A species of amoeba called the amoeba naegleria, is known as the brain-eating amoeba. They are found in warm fresh water. If infected with this species of amoeba, then it will slowly destroy the brain tissue. It almost always results in death and that too in less than a week.
  • About six species of amoeba are found in the alimentary track of humans. Out of these, the Entamoeba histolytica causes amebic dysentery.
  • Amoeba feeds on metozoa, protozoa, plant cells, bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Amoeba does not have stomach. As such, the digestion of the food takes place in a number of vacuoles inside the cell. Certain vacuoles also perform the function of excretion by eliminating waste from the cell.
  • When the amoeba eats its prey, the prey remains alive inside the amoeba for some time.
  • The amoeba wards off predators and other amoebas by secreting a chemical. This protects the amoeba from cannibalizing each other.

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