Amoeba proteus

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Amoeba proteus
Amoeba proteus with many pseudopodia.jpg
Amoeba proteus
Scientific classification
A. proteus
Binomial name
Amoeba proteus
(Pallas, 1766) Leidy, 1878

Volvox proteus Pallas, 1766

  • Proteus diffluens O.F. Müller, 1786
  • Chaos diffluens (O.F. Müller, 1786) Schaeffer, 1926

Amoeba proteus is a large species of amoeba closely related to another genus of giant amoebae, Chaos. As such, the species is sometimes given the alternative scientific name Chaos diffluens.[1][2]

Amoeba proteus in locomotion

This protozoan uses extensions called pseudopodia to move and to eat smaller unicellular organisms. Food is enveloped inside the cell's cytoplasm in a food vacuole,[3] where ingested matter is slowly broken down by enzymes. A. proteus inhabits freshwater environments and feeds on protozoans, algae, rotifers, and even other smaller amoebae. They are colorless, but they may have colored inclusions derived from its food.[4]

A. proteus possesses a thick-walled nucleus containing granular chromatin, and is therefore a eukaryote. Its membrane includes a phospholipid bilayer similar to other eukaryotic organisms.[citation needed]


The first description of this amoeba is probably that of August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof who, in 1755, published drawings of an amoeboid protozoan he called the "little Proteus".[5] Subsequently, various authors assigned Rösel's organism and other amoeboid protozoa various names: Carl Linnaeus termed Rösel's organism Chaos protheus in 1758.[5] Otto Friedrich Müller referred to it as Proteus diffluens in 1786.[5] In 1878, Joseph Leidy proposed the current name Amoeba proteus to describe Rösel's Proteus, Proteus diffluens, and another described amoeba Amoeba princeps.[5][6]


Although Amoeba proteus has most of the key proteins associated with sexual processes (as do other amoebae),[7] no evidence of meiosis or sexual activity has been reported.[citation needed]

Video gallery[edit]

Amoeba proteus in motion
Amoeba engulfing a diatom

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Monica Taylor. "The Development of the Nucleus of Amoeba proteus" (PDF). Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Amoeba proteus (Amoeba) (Chaos diffluens)".
  3. ^ Nishihara E, Shimmen T, Sonobe S (December 2004). "Functional characterization of contractile vacuole isolated from Amoeba proteus". Cell Struct. Funct. 29 (4): 85–90. doi:10.1247/csf.29.85. PMID 15665503.
  4. ^ "Facts about Amoeba". RSScience. Retrieved 2 June 2023. {{cite web}}: |first1= missing |last1= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d Lorch J (1973). "Some Historical Aspects of Amoeba Studies". In Jeon K (ed.). The Biology of Amoeba (1 ed.). ISBN 9780323144049.
  6. ^ Joseph Leidy (1878). "Amoeba proteus". The American Naturalist. 12 (4): 235–238. doi:10.1086/272082. S2CID 222321758.
  7. ^ Hofstatter PG, Brown MW, Lahr DJ (November 2018). "Comparative Genomics Supports Sex and Meiosis in Diverse Amoebozoa". Genome Biol Evol. 10 (11): 3118–3128. doi:10.1093/gbe/evy241. PMC 6263441. PMID 30380054.