An Adventurous Amoeba proteus setting sail towards its prey

It all began with my 9th grade biology school project on Amoeba when I sat and thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to actually see this Protist to its finest detail?” My adventure commenced here and this simple 9th grade biology project became much more than an enhancement of knowledge. It became an interaction with the hidden mysteries in this world.

Introduction – What is the Amoeba?

Amoebas move using a primitive form of locomotion using their pseudopodia (false feet). The pseudopodia are formed as a result of cytoplasmic extension. With the Amoeba’s absence of mouth, it uses its pseudopodia to follow prey. Its cytoplasm extends and engulfs surrounding food particles which are then digested by enzymes.

Amoeba proteus in Action – What did I see?

Under the spectacular foldscope microscope I observed an Amoeba proteus engulfing Chilomonas (its prey) using its extended pseudopodia. I also observed this unicellular organism’s form of locomotion and constant shape changing as it extended its pseudopodia to follow its prey, which were in fact rushing around it. There was a time when the Amoeba proteus was engulfing two Chilomonas simultaneously with separate pseudopodia extensions. I could vividly see the Amoeba’s protoplasmic streaming – the movement of fluid within an animal or a plant. Among the organelles within this protoplasm were contractile vacuoles which played a role in excreting excess waste after the Amoeba’s digestion.

Take A Close Look at the Video that I Took of the Amoeba proteus in Order to Visualize my Observations

Above is a representation of Amoeba proteus moving using its pseudopods and its protoplasmic flow. In its protoplasm, contractile vacuoles are seen. This amazing creature has no definite shape and is in constant motion. Above, the nature of how it moves is illustrated.
Above, Amoeba proteus holds onto its prey, which is trying to escape, after englufing it with its pseudopods
Above Amoeba proteus is in the process of engulfing its prey. It takes its pseudopods and circles the prey. Here, the Amoeba is consuming two organisms at once. The second organism is engulfed in the top right.
Above Amoeba proteus is changing shape after consuming its prey and is digesting the food with its contractile vacuole.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Thank you Dr. Lakshmin for introducing me to the fascinating world of the Foldscope

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Agana

    This is such a wonderful series of explorations. I remember briefly hearing from Laks about your adventures. I am so happy to see you join the community.

    That’s a large amoeba. You can also find a large community of foldscope users focused on the world of protists. I hope you can start sampling your neighborhood ponds before things freeze.. although, I am often surprised to also find amoeba in frozen ponds as well.

    Cheers
    Manu

    1. agana says:

      Thank you. I am planning to continue my journey with the Foldscope and hope to explore many unique things.

  2. laksiyer says:

    Dear Aparna:

    This is such a fantastic and detailed post. That engulfment of the prey is joy to watch and am seeing it again and again. @Manu dont miss the last but one video. A classic.

  3. laksiyer says:

    Also @Aparna. Keep at it. The microbial world has many many mysteries

  4. edurafi says:

    Such a wonderful post.

  5. Manu Prakash says:

    Just saw the engulfment video. What a fantastic moment. I have imaged amoeba before but had never seen the moment of prey capture. It’s fascinating how the two pseudopods travel simultaneously – how do they communicate to enclose the prey.

    Remarkable work @Aparna!!

    Cheers
    Manu

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