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Diagram of amoeba structure

Amoeba (plural = amoebae) is well known as a unicellular organism, a protist. One of its most common species, the Amoeba Proteus is about 0.2 to 0.3 mm large. Some found are 0.5 mm large, big enough to be seen with the naked eye. 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.

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


These are unique extensions of the organism's 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 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 . Retrieved 2007-06-20.