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Protoctista
Archaeprotista
Archamoebae
Pelobiontae
Pelomyxa
Mastigamoeba
Mastigina
Mastigamoeba
Metamonada
Diplomonadida
Enteromonadidae
Enteromonas
Trimitus
Caviomonas
Diplomonadidae
Trepomonas
Trigonomonas
Hexamita
Spironucleus
Octomitus
Giardia
Parabasalia
Microspora
Rhizopoda
Granuloreticulosa
Xenophyophora
Myxomycota
Dinomastigota
Ciliophora
Apicomplexa
Haptomonada
Cryptomonada
Discomitochondria
Chrysomonada
Xanthophyta
Eustigmatophyta
Diatoms
Phaeophyta
Labyrinthulata
Plasmodiophora
Oomycota
Hypochytriomycota
Haplospora
Paramyxa
Myxospora
Rhodophyta
Gamophyta
Actinopoda
Chlorophyta
Chytridiomycota
Zoomastigota

Protoctista - Unicellular Eukaryotes

Welcome to the Protoctista page. These links are provided as additional information to go along with the topics covered on my website. At the time of this posting, the links are all in working order, but if you come across one that doesn't work, please contact me at WWDD. This page was originally found on another website, which has subsequently been handed over to me. The content found on this site was not written by me, but I have edited some of the original content (i.e. updated links, etc.) as appropriate. My special thanks goes to Bob Patterson, the original author of this page, who graciously allowed me to use his content.

Introduction

The core information for this page is taken from the website of McGraw-Hill Access Science. The original text can be found there, and further information can be accessed through a subscription to the site. This information will be complimented by my use of "The Five Kingdoms: An illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth" by Lynn Margulis and Karlene V. Schwartz. For convenience the taxonomic list is distributed among several separate pages. This information will also be correlated to that which can be found on Tree of Life. The groups on this page will be color coded based on their taxon level, although not all of them will always be used. Those taxa listed in bold font are the commonly known taxon levels. Listed below are the 30 taxon levels used by such sites as the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) TaxBrowser. They are listed as follows:

Protoctista

The Kingdom Protoctista or Protista is one of the commonly recognized biological kingdoms, including all the eukaryotes except for the plants, fungi, animals, and sometimes other groups which are treated in separate kingdoms. A few forms are multicellular, for instance the brown and red algae. The vast majority, though, comprise the single-celled organisms, and are typically only 0.01-0.5 mm in size, usually too small to be seen without a microscope. Protists are ubiquitous throughout aqueous environments and the soil, commonly surviving dry periods in the form of cysts; a few are important parasites.


Archaeprotista

This phylum, along with the Microspora are considered to be amitochondriates. They both also consist of anaerobic organisms. Molecular data show that these two phyla branched off early in single-celled eukaryotic history. Margulis suggests that Archaeprotista has three classes: Archamoebae, Metamonada, and Parabasalia1.


Archamoebae

This class consists of amoeboids that live in either fresh or marine water. It has been split into two subclasses, Pelobiontae (or Caryoblastae) and Mastigamoebae.


Pelobiontae

The pelobionts are a small group of amoeboid protists that lack mitochondria. It consists of a sole genus, Pelomyxa and the most notable member is Pelomyxa palustris, called the giant amoeba because of its size: usually 500-800 Ám, but occasionally passing 3 mm in length. Several other species have been described, but they may be synonyms. These anaerobic amoebas lack undulipodia and swimming stages.


Photomicrograph of Pelomyxa palustris Pelomyxa

Sample species include Pelomyxa palustris (pictured at left, image can be found at Micscape) and Pelomyxa illinoisensis.



Mastigamoeba

Members of this subclass are single-celled and have at least one undulipodium. They can be either free-living or parasitic, and all are asexual. This subclass can be further divided into two genera, Mastiginia and Mastigamoeba.


Image of Mastigina setosa Mastigina

Sample species include Mastiginia hylae and Mastiginia setosa (Pictured at left. Image from micro*scope).



Image of Mastigamoeba aspera Mastigamoeba

Sample species include Mastigamoeba aspera (pictured at left, image from micro*scope)and Mastigamoeba balamuthi.



Metamonada

This class of protists is comprised of cells in which the nuclei are attached to the undulipodia by rhizoplasts (Margulis 118). This class is further separated into three subclasses: Diplomonadida, Retortamonada, and Oxymonadida, all also known as "polymonads."


Diplomonadida

These are small, colorless flagellates, some of which are free-living, some parasitic. The body is bilaterally symmetrical, composed of two mirror halves, each with a nucleus and a full set of kinetic organelles. There are four flagella to a side, not all of the same length. In division of the cell the two nuclei each form a spindle, so that each daughter cell receives two nuclear complexes. The human intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia is a diplomonad. Diplomonadida is usually split in two groups, enteromonads and diplomonads, according to their single- or double- karyomastigont organisation respectively.


Enteromonadidae

This family comprises three genera: Enteromonas, Trimitus and Caviomonas. These small flagellates live as harmless commensals in the intestine of various animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates. Enteromonas hominis inhabits the cecum of man. Enteromonas, the only genus studied with electron microscopy, shows a striking homology with Hexamita, and the family Enteromonadidae, although their members possess only one karyomastigont, belongs taxonomically to the class Diplomonadida.


Cartoon image of Enteromonas hominis Enteromonas

Examples of this genus include Enteromonas hominis (pictured at left, image from micro*scope) and Enteromonas suis.



Cartoon image of a species of Trimitus Trimitus

Examples of this genus include Trimitus ranae and Trimitus trionici. Generic image of Trimitus at left, image from micro*scope.



Cartoon of a Caviomonas species Caviomonas

An example of this genus is Caviomonas mobilis. Cartoon image of Caviomonas at left.



Diplomonadidae

Members of the family Diplomonadidae are axially symmetrical with eight flagella, two nuclei, and a double set of accessory organelles. The family includes six genera. Two are free living (Trepomonas, Trigonomonas), one contains both parasitic and free living species (Hexamita), and three are exclusively parasitic (Spironucleus, Octomitus and Giardia).


Cartoon image of Trepomonas agilis Trepomonas

Examples of this genus are Trepomonas agilis (pictured at left, image from micro*scope) and Trepomonas rotans.



Photomicrograph of a Trigonomonad Trigonomonas

Examples of this genus are Trigonomonas compressa and Trigonomonas tortuosa. General image of a trigonomonad at left, image from micro*scope.



Cartoon of a species of Hexamita Hexamita

Examples of this genus include Hexamita inflata and Hexamita nelsoni. Pictured at left is Hexamita meleagridis, image from the following French website: Hexamita.



Photmicrograph of Spironucelus muris Spironucleus

Examples of this genus include Spironucleus vortens and Spironucleus muris (pictured at left, image from RatGuide.com).



Cartoon drawing of an octomitid Octomitus

Examples of this genus include Octomitus intestinalis and Octomitus neglectus. Image to the left is a cartoon of a generic octomitid, from micro*scope.



Cartoon image of a species of Giardia Giardia

Examples of this genus include Giardia intestinalis and Giardia varani. To the left is a cartoon image of a species of Giardia. The image can be found at Diagnosticoveterinario.com, which is in Spanish.



Photomicrograph of a trichomonad Parabasalia

The parabasalids are group of flagellate protozoa, most of which are symbiotic in animals. These include a variety of forms found in the guts of termites and cockroaches, many of which have symbiotic bacteria that help them digest wood. Some other species are human pathogens, such as Trichomonas vaginalis. At left is a photomicrograph of a trichomonad.



If you'd like to view the next group, the Microspora, click Next --->


References Cited

1. Margulis L, Scwartz KV, Five kingdoms: an illustrated guide to the phyla of life on Earth.3rd ed. New York: W.H. Freeman; 2000. p 117-121.


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