Life in a drop of water

Protist (or protozoa) are microscopic creatures that live in water. There are many in the the Protozoa Kingdom, but there are 4 more commonly known protist that can be used to relate to gain better knowledge of the others

*Click the title for a protist overview.

Things to Know!

Cells are the smallest living thing and the most basic unit of structure of all living things. Protist are an example of a single celled organism.

If you would like to learn about the parts of the cell, watch videos, or learn cell theory, go to the link below:

New Definitions:

Heterotrophic: To required (or simply able to) to consume food to live and create energy.

Autotrophic: To be able to make your own food. Anything that has chloroplast is an example of an autotrophic.

Anterior: The front or head.

Protist: A single celled organism that lives in water.

Asexual Reproduction: (Definition not provided)

Sexual Reproduction: (Definition not provided)

Binary Fission: A common way of asexual reproduction in protist. In Binary Fission, an organism literally splits it's DNA and organelles in half to create a replica of itself.

(Video Example Below)

Binary fission.flv

New Organelles:

Eyespot: An organelle often found on protist with chloroplast. An eyespot allows the organism to see or sense light. This makes it easier for them to make food and energy. It can be identified as a red dot on some protist.

Contractile Vacuole: An organelle in found in almost all protist that controls the amount of water that leaves and stays in the organism. Protist live in water, so a defective contractile vacuole is very dangerous. A protist may dry explode if water cannot leave the cell.

Flagellum: A tail like strand that pulls a single celled organism through the water.

Meet the Protist!


I am a small organism with chloroplasts. In a way, this makes me animal plant hybrid! Even though I can get food by my chloroplast (photosynthesis) I can also absorb nutrients from my surroundings through my cytoplasm (heterotrophic).

Click on my pictures for more information or click on the link for a worksheet and more information!

Flexible Movement in Euglena 2


Us volvox live in colonies like giant hollow balls. As a single protist, we have two flagella that pull us through the water, but it is rare to see a volvox by itself. Unlike our Euglena friends, we are not heterotrophic, but just autotrophic. We can only make food through photosynthesis. Like the Euglena though, we have eyespots that help us find light.
Volvox Dances


I am an an amoeba. I move by something called a pseudopod or "false foot". To use my pseudopod I stretch out my cytoplasm and pull. In the picture, you can see me surround my prey with my pseudopods. Soon, my pseudopod will engulf it and my cytoplasm with ingest it. My favorite foods are paramecium and euglena.
Amoeba eats two paramecia (Amoeba's lunch)


Paramecium move and feed using microscopic hairs called Cilia that line it's cytoplasm. It eats microscopic organisms like algae and yeasts that are swept into it's oral groove (like a mouth) and then turned into energy.

The paramecium has a special defence mechanism. It can shoot out strands called trichocysts to either attack a predator or make itself look bigger!

paramecium moving
Paramecium Conjugation