MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: what does paramecia and euglena eat

Date: Fri Feb 20 16:28:49 2009
Posted By: Billy Carver, Grad student, Biomedical Sciences, Vanderbilt University
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1234924108.Gb

Food Fit for a Protist


So this seems like a pretty straightforward question, and for paramecia it is.  Paramecia eat almost anything organic - other protists, small single celled fungi, bacteria, and organic materials floating in their surrounding environment. 

Euglenas are a little different.  Like paramecia they can eat a variety of living things around them.  They do not have anything like a mouth, which paramecia do, so they eat things by engulfing them in a process called “endocytosis.” Euglenas have a trick up their sleeves though – they have chloroplasts, much like plants, and are therefore able to absorb light and create sugar from it in a process called photosynthesis.  This means that they are not just heterotrophs (deriving theirenergy from eating other living things) or autotrophs (deriving their energy from sunlight) – they are a weird mix of the two.

I hope this bit of information helps you!  Not a lot of protozoologists out there so keep thinking about Euglenas and Paramecia!



A description of paramecia, including what they eat. 


A sweet video of paramecia eating yeast stained with Congo Red.

Tree of Life page for Euglenas – Tree of Life is great for this kind of research, by the way.  Pay particular attention to the section, “Evolutionary History of the Euglenid Pellicle.”


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