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Brief comment: it seems to me that an page like this could benefit greatly, for the benefit of people who don't actually know what protista are and therefore need this article, to begin with examples of protists. Whenever defining any term in any field, it always helps to begin with concrete examples (if possible). Generally speaking, unless you're just trying up the knowledge of biologists, without good examples generously interspersed, and other jargon explained, these articles aren't going to be as helpful as they might otherwise be. --LMS

I need to know wither a protist is a single celled or mulit celled and if they move on thier own.

Ok. What protists are people familiar with that reference can be made to? The only ones I can think of that are truly well-known are Amoeba - maybe Paramecium and Euglena, but I'd be surprised if anyone has heard of those and didn't know they were protozoa. Multicellular forms people would know, but they're already mentioned on the page. Maybe it would help to say the rest comprise all single-celled forms, instead of are just single-celled? --JGh

You'd know the answer to your questions better than I would, I'm sure. When I write an article or lecture about a philosophical subject to nonphilosophers, I try to ease my way into the subject, if I can. That's all. --LMS

The term seaweed covers a large array of lifeforms, some of which are in the plantate (plant) kingdom, and some of which are in other kingdoms, specifically protista. Are all commonly eaten seaweeds in the plante kingdom? Are there any protista seaweeds (or any protista anything) which are eaten? RK

The Sea Palm is a brown alga, and it is eaten. I believe kombu, one of the most commonly eaten algae, may also be from a brown (Laminiaria?). Brown algae are chromalveolates, definitely not plants. Safay 07:06, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps we can add some sort of breakdown of the Protista "kingdom" like this?

There are many Eukaryote Kingdoms, including Plantae, Fungi and Animalia. The rest of the many eukarote kingdoms are, for the sake of convenience, lumped together into a super-kingdom known as "protista". However, DNA and RNA analysis of these lifeforms shows that the protista actually consist of many kingdoms, each as distinct from each other as plantae is from fungi or animalis. The precise terminology and method dividing these kingdoms is still undergoing many changes, and the terms below are not accepted by all authorities.

Diplomonads - .

Microsporida - These all live as parasites inside the cells of their hosts. They reproduce by sudden bursts of division to generate an instan swarm.

Parabasalids - Only a small number of organisms are in this category.

Myxomycota - True slime molds. They form patches of wet slime on fallen, rotting logs.

Euglenozoa - Single-cellular organisms that can move by waving a flagellum. Some have chloroplasts and engage in photosynthesis, while others do not.

Naegleria - They live as amoebas in dirty water, feeding on bacteria. They can develop flagella and swim.

Entamoeba - A kingdom with many kinds of parasitic amoebae. Some species in this kingdom live in the human colon.

Acrasiomycota - Cellular slime molds. They live in fresh water, on damp soil, or on rotting logs and vegetation.

Rhodophyta - Red seaweeds; these are not in the plant kingdom! About 400 species are known.

Alveoles - Contains three taxa (large categories): ciliates, dinoflagellates and apicomplexans.

Ciliates - These have cilia all over their surface, and most have more than one nucleus. They live in both fresh and sea-water, and feed on bacteria.
Dinoflagellates - Marine plankton that mainly live in salt-water. They are propelled by a single flagellum. Most live as single cells, while some species will form colonies. A few species have chlorophyll and undergo photosynthesis.
Apicomplexa - These are all parasites of animals that can reproduce in bursts by producing a host of spores.

Stramenophiles - A group of six related protist kingdoms:

Labyrinthulids - better known as marine slime nets. They form transparent colonies that live on seaweed. They secrete mucus and actin-like proteins, creating a trail that they then travel along.
Oomycota - While not a true fungus- these are fungus-like protists. Some species in this kingdom include water moulds, white rusts and down mildews. They digest their food by secreting enzymes and absorbing he dissolved nutrients. They live off of dead, decaying material, or as parasites. The most infamous member of this kingdom is potato blight, which caused the Irish famine during the 1840s.
Xanthophyta - Yellow green cells that can form colonies in fresh water. Only a hundred species in this kingdom are known.
Chrysophyta - Golden algae, that live in fresh or salt water. Some are single-celled, some form colonies. The ones in salt water form beautiful silicon shells.
Phaeophyta - Brown seaweeds; these are not in the plant kingdom! About 1500 species are known. All live in salt water. The most famous form is giant kelp, which can grow up to 100 meters (about 300 feet) long.
Diatoms - A kingdom with about 10,000 species of marine plankton. They are surrounded by hard shells. They can live as single cells or form colonies. Most can photosynthesize.

Source: “The Variety of Life: A survey and a celebration of all the creatures that have ever lived” Colin Tudge, Oxford University Press, 2000

This looks good to me, but Josh Grosse is our Protista guy around here - I'm just a generalist who happens to have a lot of bacteria-focused micro training. --mav

Ha, I'm a mathematician by training, and this is just a subject I've done a great deal of reading in. Don't worry about stepping on my toes.

As for the above, it's fine but very incomplete. The full list of groups which currently are considered top-level is on evolutionary tree - as you can see, it's kind of long, which is why I originally broke things down into subpages. But we could have the whole thing here, if we really want. Alternatively we could mention a few notable groups, things like the Euglenozoa, without bothering to list smaller groups like Ebriids.

Josh Grosse

I think the Protist Kingdom is out of date it was only a collection of "life" that some one tried to put together! All very different forms of life, large, small highly organised relatively simple . Osborne 10:50, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Removed from article:

The following information is according to a taxonomic system that is generally considered to be obsolete. Many taxonomists agree that it should be divided into a large number of smaller kingdoms, though there is disagreement as to the precise method of division.

This statement is misleading since even though those that do use this taxon (still the vast majority of biologists) know that Protista is a multiphyletic taxon. The trouble is that there are perhaps dozens of kingdoms in Protista but most of those only have a very small number of known living genera. So most textbooks simply admit that Protista isn't really a kingdom in the classic sense and this is also what most professors still teach. But there is significant movement toward the 6-kingdom classification system in order to make the now standard 5-kingdom system be compatible at the kingdom level with the 3 domain system. I'm not aware of any major movement to split Protista into multi kingdoms and have that be the standard (it may happen eventually but until it does our articles should reflect, not lead, scientific development). --mav

Even systems that create new kingdoms from certain groups of protists still typically have a kingdom Protista for the variety of forms whose affinities are unknown. The only exception I can think of off the top of my head is one by Cavalier-Smith, which has a paraphyletic kingdom Protozoa filling exactly the same function. I've changed the article to try and make the status of the Protista a little more clear, though really I felt the description given was adequate. Anyone who feels they can do a better job, please help out! Why is it, btw, that the only interest anyone shows in this group is how it is divided into kingdoms? -- Josh

When wikipedia was first started, there was no source on the different groups that was both up to date and comprehensive. Most of these protist pages were created with the aim of (perhaps) someday filling that niche, essentially in keeping with the stated aim on WP: Tree of Life of classifying all living things down to genera. Since then various other sources have made considerable improvements in this regard; searching for material on some of the newer groups, I ran into this page, which includes a full and recent classification system with considerable detail about (most of) the taxa. They did a really excellent job, and I don't think that we would want to duplicate their efforts, even if their was a hope of us achieving the same level of quality. So the question now is, what do we hope to achieve with our Protista section? I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for what sort of goals we should be setting.


Although many of the products will function in a similar way their method of producing material is very different than ours and much more importantly their text is not free as in libre. Our goal is to provide a living resource of information that is freed from the normal constraints of copyright law and editorial control. I see no reason why we should curtail what we are doing here just because somebody else is working on similar things. Our projects are sufficiently different that they are not really in competition with each other. But we could, of course, use them as an information (not text) resource. Some cooperation also may be possible esp with the use of images. If all they require is attribution then that would be great. --mav

I'm well aware of the special and occasionally superior nature of wikipedia. My main concern was the information, since faced with few reasonably comprehensive sources on relatively new or poorly known groups, any attempt at utilization seems like it is going to border dangerously on plagiarism. We can avoid this for the big, well known taxa, but it seems like something we would have to deal with eventually. I will look into use policies for things like images later, but at the moment I just wanted to raise the issue, while it was fresh in my mind.

I've added a few major groups to the taxobox, since it seems important to people that we have something there. The selection is meant to include all the most notable protists that we can reasonably treat as phyla - the major groups of algae and alveolates, groups containing the best-known flagellates, and groups corresponding to the traditional rhizopod classes (lobose, filose, reticulose) as closely as possible. On the other hand, the radiolaria and heliozoa are completely omitted because there still isn't any concensus on how monophyletic they are. The green algae, Myxozoa and Microsporidia are skipped because they're now considered in other kingdoms.

It's not meant to be complete, but hopefully this is a satisfying compromise. Josh 06:45, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The Linnean system is not dead, but taxonomic ranks are dying as more phylogenetic information emerges. Whether or not PhyloCode will emerge as the newly accepted taxonomic system in the scientific community is not clear. What is clear is that a rank-based taxonomic system is insufficient and becoming more useless (from a phylogenetic systematics point of view) every time we collect more data.

Protists are the perfect example of why ranks like "Kingdom" are not going to survive, and at the most basic level will not make any sense once the early history of life is more clearly understood.

So, I too think the discussion should move away from an emphasis on what's a kingdom and what's not. It was said that people come here to find out what a protist is. The people who care about resolving the deep roots of the eukaryote tree, the ones who are making the taxonomic decisions with their publications, they don't need Wikipedia. The people who are worried about the tree of life will go to the ToL project website, whose function is to address this very problem. Let's concentrate on showing what protists are and what makes eukaryote diversity so fascinating.

Safay 04:02, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The problem is that protists are essentially a kingdom, not much more. They aren't a clade, and they aren't much of a grade - there aren't many things they have in common besides some sort of simplicity. Pages on protist groups can and do go into more detail, but here there isn't much to say besides what they include and how they are classified. And I don't think it's clear that ranks like kingdom are going to be abandoned, so some variations should be noted. Josh

I don’t mind the removal of the "color commentary" regarding the turf battle between botanists and zoologists. As it stands, the wording is OK -- except that it must be FREE energy (the surrogate for entropy production), since energy itself cannot be used up. Also, for grammatical reasons, it should be "but also biochemistry and genetics". David Shear

Fair enough. I see you've fixed both - thanks! Josh

As you saw, I said "use light energy" rather than introducing the term free energy. I added Paramecium bursaria to Euglena as an example of a ciliate, and a reference to endosymbiosis. I think it's helpful to indicate how some protozoa picked up chloroplasts. (I didn’t say Chlorella.) If you object, you can take this out. David Shear 21:35, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


soz guys, i was trying to help because the groups seemed to be repeated twice at the top. i was trying to just delete the repeat but deleted wrong thing i think. tried to fix but don't know how. sorry again

It is not your fault at all, someone else broke the template. Thanks for calling attention to the problem. Josh


Josh thanks for editing my reorganization of the protist page. Without the categories I think it was confusing to people who don't know what protists are (see the first comment on this discussion page) with a lumped discussion of traditional vs. modern classification schemes. I was inspired and just went ahead without brining it up here.

A couple of remaining problems:

  • there are different traditional classification schemes depending on what time period you're talking about
  • a monophyletic (i.e., modern) classification of euks can't really recognize protista as a group exclusive of the plants, fungi, animals, but people still use the word protist to recognize the paraphyletic group.

The New Higher Level Classification of Eukaryotes with Emphasis on the Taxonomy of Protists, J. Eukaryot. Microbiol., 52(5), 2005 pp. 399–451.

Is this something we can/should explain? The problem is that everyone who took high school biology wants life to be broken into Kingdoms. But I don't think that the breakdown of Linnean-rank-based taxonomy is something that we can really get into a discussion about on the protist page. I'm not sure who the authority (ICZN?) for protist nomenclature is, but if we're going to present the "official" taxonomy I think this JEM article above is it, in terms of people who actually study these things.

I think we can and should explain it, but since it isn't really a classification of protists but of eukaryotes in general, it probably belongs on the eukaryote page. There's already a brief overview of the modern supergroups there, which could definitely be expanded. For the protist groups, I don't see much harm in using the paraphyletic kingdom, so long as we explain the real relationships in the text. Other than that, I've been trying to use ranked taxa that do match the actual clades, usually following Cavalier-Smith as he suggested many of them.

I know there's no single traditional system of protist classification. The idea was more to present the main morphological groups, which are still very helpful for understanding and recognizing protist diversity, and to explain their correspondence with the modern clades (on pages like amoeboid, flagellate, and algae). If you feel the present page is misleading, unclear, or could be improved in any way, please feel free to make whatever changes you think would help.

It would be interesting to know some names related to the research history of protists. Who gets credit for the change in taxonomy? (Specifically, does Lynn Margulis have a role in this subject?) --User:Jussi Hirvi


What are you guys even talkning about!?!?!? I can't understand a word ytour saying!!! Are you guys like super duper smart or just nerdy people that like correcting other people to make yourslef feel useful!? I got lost like at the first sentence how could people be so smart?? even though I am only 12 I can't understand any of this? I have one question, What do Protist eat? they eat stuff I can't find it anywere. Its so hard to find in formation about the five kingdoms. This is so not funny I have to do a report and its making me frustrated!!

Asking what Protists eat is like asking what do Animals eat. It really all depends on which particular protist you are talking about. If are asking about the particular protist that "eat" things, you can count on the fact that since they are so small, they are probably eating other protist. If you are doing a report on Protist, do yourself a favor and head to the library. Pick up some books. I don't recommend that anyone use Wikipedia for school projects since the information is subject to change so rapidly. Best of luck. Phauge 16:23, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

yeah, i agree w/the first person, i'm 12 and i am doin a project on the 6 kingdoms.....what is the common name of Entosiphon sulcatum? or how about where it lives? i also agree w/the second person, because that diet question is quite vague...and the information is subject to change rapidly...unfortunately. mind ur language.u could be banished. --Divya da animal lvr 21:54, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

p.s. they should make a "homework help" section of wiki....would help, but it would still change....readers please think about this.

A tip - the 6 kingdom system is out of date, being replaced by the 3 domain system. That is, Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukary(ot)a. It is also likely that Entosiphon sulcatum does not have a common name, as most protists don't, there being so many. As for amoeba and paramecium, their common name is merely the name of their genus. As for where it lives, it is most likely aquatic. The only protists that I can think of that don't live in a watery environment would be slime molds. Werothegreat 16:14, 3 November 2006 (UTC)


Someone with some knowledge in the field needs to add something to the evolution section. Right now it only explains the endosymbiotic theory, which pertains top all eukaryotic cells.

                                      Ch@z 23:08, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

What Protist do[edit]

Does anyone agree with me that there should be a section on the function of protists in the article? --RebDrummer61 12:05, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Essentially, they live. I'm not trying to be demeaning here, but you're literally asking "what is the meaning [function] of life?" Protists are a type of lifeform, and they are (were) distinguished by their form (i.e. no nucleus), not their function. Just as bacteria have a multitude of different functions (or lack thereof), as do animals, there's really no answer to that question. --RealGrouchy (talk) 21:22, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

What is its scientific name?

See above. You may be confused because many common names for organisms also have scientific names. The scientific name of an organism is usually "A B" where "A" is the genus and "B" is the species. (For example, the animal we refer to as "sea otter" has the scientific name "Enhydra lutris". If you go to the article on Sea otters, you'll see on the right the classification of Sea Otters. You can click on the links in that box for more information on scientific classifications.) If you look at the diagram at Biological classification, you'll see that "protist" is a kingdom (or rather, it was formerly considered as one), which is much broader than an individual species. So "protist" isn't the common name for a species, it's really much broader than that. I hope this clarifies that for you. Cheers. --RealGrouchy (talk) 21:22, 2 March 2008 (UTC)


I think it would be a great asset to this page to more clearly define the differance between Protists and the other Eukaryotic organisms. Since Protists aren't animals, plants, or fungi there must be something that sets them aside, and while it may be here somewhere its not very clear and should have its own little section.

What sets them aside is that they aren't animals, plants or fungi - full stop. The point the article keeps making is that they aren't a group. They are a number of different groups thrown together because nobody knows how to separate them properly. There are characteristics that define some protists groups that are completely lacking from other groups. Try comparing a trypanosome with a brown seaweed with a slime mould with a radiolarian and see what they have in common. 22:08, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Cell walls[edit]

Hey, do protists have a cell wall and, if yes,what are it's components?--

About Protists[edit]

Hi I was wondering if you guys could help me and tell me all you know about protists thanks bye reply soon! 22:18, 27 March 2007 oh yeah thanks if you reply to this i am doing a school project that invovles protists so i most know about them so thanks bye

Confusing first line[edit]

I have a problem with the first line of this article - "...comprising those eukaryotes that can not be classified in any of the other kindoms such as fungi, eubacteria, archaebacteria, animal or plants..." How is it that eubacteria and archaebacteria are considered within eukaryotes? This line should be changed. Ansuman 13:27, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Yep, you're right. I fixed it. (You could've done this yourself. Be bold - I was ;-) Secret Squïrrel 06:10, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Numbers of red algae[edit]

According to Josh Grosse: "...there are Rhodophyta - Red seaweeds; these are not in the plant kingdom! About 400 species are known." (see above) According to Biology of the Red Algae they are Rhodophyta as they are included it this book Edited: Cole, K.M. and Sheath, R.G. 1990. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. p.2 read: "There are over 10,000 described species of red algae." Osborne 10:37, 12 June 2007 (UTC)


Sholud be added the code [[Paraphyly|*]] in the table. Compare with Even-toed ungulate. 17:54, 8 July 2007 (UTC) also live in subsoil —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:45, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Why Locked?[edit]

The article is locked, yet I cannot see anything on the article page or on the primary discussion page explaining why this is so. Can someone either unlock the article, or add some information explaining why it is locked? Thanks. --RealGrouchy (talk) 21:08, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I've unprotected it for you. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:38, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Sections needed[edit]

  1. Classification
  2. Origin and evolution
  3. Morphology
  4. Cell structure
  5. Metabolism
  6. Genetics
  7. Reproduction
  8. Ecology
  9. Significance in technology and industry

Tim Vickers (talk) 23:40, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Lack of histones in dinoflagellates PMID 15819396


Reading through the above comments, I see a lot of frustration with this article. I believe the main problem is that it isn't immediately clear to the reader why this term is deprecated. Rather than trying to expand this article to better explain what a protist is, I believe we should reduce the size of the article. We should simply explain how people used this term in the past, and gently guide the reader to more appropriate terminology. Does anybody object to this reduction? --Arcadian (talk) 20:49, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Hadn't noticed this before. Removing content does make the article easier to understand but I think we should provide readers with more information about protists rather than less. Plantand Fungi etc. aren't limited to such simple explanations and whilst the rest of the article could be improved I don't really see how removing the content helps readers. I'd be inclined to replace the content but will wait a while. Smartse (talk) 10:01, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
The terms "plant" and "fungi" are both widely accepted in modern biology, while the term "protist" is widely rejected. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't have an article about protists (we have an article on phlogiston theory, after all), but Wikipedia policy and community standards dictate that we're limited to discussing what is provided by modern reliable sources. Writing about how protists reproduce is like writing about how red vehicles are built. It's answering the wrong question. --Arcadian (talk) 17:16, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
That's a very apt analogy! Tim Vickers (talk) 17:38, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough, I prefer to see more rather than less information but so be it.... Smartse (talk) 19:28, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I somewhat disagree. While the term is not widely used anymore in biology, the extra info should not be deleted because it shows what used to be referred to as protista. If the article is not clear on protista being a much more defunct term now, then you can go ahead and add as much info to point this out. But to understand what is meant by protista and its historical usage....much of the deleted info (especially the different types of supposed protista historically classified) should be restored. Zachorious (talk) 02:29, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Link 1 needs a freely available source[edit]

Can anyone provide a source that is actually freely available to view? This one is not: 'Simonite T (November 2005). "Protists push animals aside in rule revamp". Nature 438 (7064): 8–9. doi:10.1038/438008b. PMID 16267517.'

--Agamemnus (talk) 02:47, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

If you e-mail me I can get you copies of any of the references in this article. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:50, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your kind offer, but it's not access for me that's the concern here. Sources should be available either from a library or for free on the internet so that they are useful to the greater public.--Agamemnus (talk) 07:18, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
That journal is indeed widely-available in libraries. If you can find a free-access article covering the same ground that would be great, and we could add that as well. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:30, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Collage image correctly licensed?[edit]

I noticed the Taxobox uses collage image File:Protist collage.jpg that is derived from File:Paramecium.jpg. I have a few concerns. I believe the collage license should include GFDL of the Paramecium image. The latter was added to this article in October 27, 2004 with this edit. However I am unsure that the Paramecium image is correctly attributed but as it is used in 100 wikipedia pages I assume this has been checked? The image file itself contains text that has "Paramecium caudatum" while the page description has "Paramecium aurelia". Finally, the Paramecium image appears to have been posted to usenet in 16 May, 1998 ([1]). The photographer appears to have posted several similar images around that time annotated with his copyright (see for 1999 example of website using his image with permission). 84user (talk) 02:32, 3 May 2009 (UTC)


"as the kingdom Protista but this group is no longer recognized in modern taxonomy" ...say what? I was just taught this kingdom in school like... two months ago! One source is not enough proof for the dissolution of a kingdom! Especially in taxonomy, which changes very often. I have many problems with many biology articles on this Wikipedia! (note that I said this, meaning other Wikipedias in other languages don't make such mistakes.) Look:

  • spanish Wiki: "El reino Protista, también llamado Protoctista, es aquel que contiene a todos aquellos organismos eucariontes que no pueden clasificarse dentro de alguno de los otros tres reinos eucarióticos: Fungi (hongos), Animalia (animales en sentido estricto) o Plantae (plantas)."
  • french Wiki: Infobox→ Classification classique: Règne: Protista
  • russian Wiki: Infobox→ Научная классификация
    Надцарство: Эукариоты
    Царство: Протисты

Sure, there are a few other wikis that copied from en:wp, but those aren't as many. Not only this, but I see that English Wikipedia is also the only one wich classifies Green Algae as Plantae!!! insane much? I want an explanation and other reliable sources, not just a paragraph from!— (talk) 12:09, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

The statement isn't saying Protista is no longer recognized at all; it is saying the former Kingdom is better classified as a series of generally unrelated phyla which were formerly classified as a regnum, for want of a better way to group them. Intelligentsiumreview 00:59, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
I find this section confusing as well. It could be said more directly. So Protists are still a Kingdom? If you read this, it's really had to tell have Protists were a Kingdom and now are a bunch of organisms that are called Protists but are actually part of a lot of other Kingdoms. Whatever it is, it should be said flat out, and this definitely does not do that. I am baffled by the first paragraph.

BradyDale (talk) 23:07, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request[edit]

{{editsemiprotected}} Other protists can engulf bacteria and digest tem internally -> should be 'Other protists can engulf bacteria and digest them internally'

 Done! Thank you for your contribution to Wikipedia, and please consider creating an account to avoid having to go through ESP in the future. Your contribution to Wikipedia is valued. Intelligentsiumreview 16:51, 18 October 2009 (UTC)


Why does Prasiola deserve a link at the bottom of the page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:55, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Good question! I've removed it because although they are protists they are one of thousands of genera and we shouldn't aim to link to all of them in this article. Thanks for pointing it out. Smartse (talk) 18:14, 12 February 2010 (UTC)


2-venus —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:10, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Titular Disjunct[edit]

The title of the article is Protist, a singular noun, yet it launches immediately into a discussion of protists, a plural word referring to the group of applicable organisms. How come? If anything shouldn't protist be redirected to Protists. After all the article isn't about a single protist, or a single protistan species. It is about protists as a whole. Better yet why not redirect protist to the scientific term, Protista, or perhaps even better, to Protoctista; although the two have distinct meanings.J.H.McDonnell (talk) 02:06, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from Skwerlhater0, 1 July 2010[edit]


Section titled: Historical classifications

"...when it became apparent that neither protists or monera were single groups of related organisms..."

Should be

"...when it became apparent that neither protists nor monera were single groups of related organisms..."

Changed or to nor.

Skwerlhater0 (talk) 20:11, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Done, thanks. Chzz  ►  11:32, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


Section "Role as Pathogens"[edit]

This section contains a sentence fragment. The section begins, "Some protists are significant pathogens of both animals and plants. For example Plasmodium falciparum which causes malaria in humans and Phytophthora infestans which causes potato blight." The part beginning, "For example," isn't a sentence; it probably ought to be moved to just after "Some protists." I'd fix it myself but the article is mystifyingly locked. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:56, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Is that better? mgiganteus1 (talk) 02:55, 27 October 2010 (UTC)


I think the intro is trying to say, without actually saying it, that in modern biology we prefer to have taxa that are monophyletic, rather then taxa based on morphological traits. IN this sense, protista is not really a scientific group, but sort of leftovers that don't fit in other groups. we might, when we know more, move some protists into other groups, or break protista up into 2 or more groups of equal rankCinnamon colbert (talk) 02:46, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Taxobox image[edit]

It looks like the

Protist collage.jpg

includes an engraving of what appears to be primitive mollusks (I can spot an ammonite there) while in the Historical classification of the article, it is made clear that:

"... the term protist is used to refer to unicellular eukaryotes that either exist as independent cells, or if they occur in colonies, do not show differentiation into tissues. "

An actual shell, without regards to what grew it, required specialized tissue and thus differentiation. Historically, such organisms may have been part of the protist kindgom, but for use in the taxobox, this collage is misleading. If I am in the wrong, please inform me on the nature of those organism that are causing me grief. Tinss (talk) 22:01, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Hi Tinss; do you mean the Foraminifera in the lower right corner? This image should probably come with a legend and links, and the wikipedia article on forams could be better and include more. Is this the image you are concerned with? --Kleopatra (talk) 03:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that would be the image I'm concerned with. Well, it turns out the single cell organisms are capable or producing shells (and intricate ones too); I'll go to bed a less ignorant man tonight. Thanks! However, this image is still a bit misleading so a legend should be added below. Since I do not really know what those organisms are beside the forams and what looks like an amoeba, I'll leave this to you.Tinss (talk) 04:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
We should probably add a caption saying what they are from the top left clockwise. I know the first two are Paramecium and Plasmodium but I'm not sure about the others. Is the third an oomycete? (Once we work it out, the commons description should be updated to, since that should tell us what the collage was made from.) SmartSE (talk) 09:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Missing Citation re: Moving Beyond Five Kingdom Model[edit]


Would have added this to the document but your shields are up. The section:

These five kingdoms remained the accepted classification until the development of molecular phylogenetics in the late 20th century, when it became apparent that neither protists nor monera were single groups of related organisms (they were not monophyletic groups).

Lacks a citation and thus needs a [citation needed], or a suitable citation. Please amend or lower the shields. Thanks! (talk) 17:46, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Citation added. It makes the point indirectly, but I think it will do until someone finds a more on point source. -- Donald Albury 10:54, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Kingdom Protista Haeckel 1866[edit]

Bacteria are Protista sensu Haeckel in 1866
Porifera are Protista sensu Haeckel in 1866
Cilliophora are Animalia sensu Haeckel in 1866
This article must be revised.
--Euzomo (talk) 16:34, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from Smirshak, 9 August 2011[edit]

Please add the following text & link in the "external links" section of Wikipedia's Protists page

Protists: Cells in the Sea (HD video & photos) :

Smirshak (talk) 19:50, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Done. I think it could be uploaded to commons too and then added as a video here, but I'm not 100% sure. SmartSE (talk) 20:28, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
It can't, unfortunately. It has a license that doesn't permit commercial use or derivatives, both of which are required by Commons. mgiganteus1 (talk) 22:25, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Title-Protists vs protoctists[edit]

As all A-Level Biology textbooks call this kingdom 'Protoctista', and its' members 'Protoctists', this would heavily imply that the more widely accepted name for the group is 'protoctists', as opposed to 'protists'. Thereby, I suggest that the article should be renamed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ohdear15 (talkcontribs) 15:30, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Futhermore, OCR AS Biology papers do NOT give students the mark for calling the kingdom Protista, and ONLY accept the spelling protoctista--DJK (talk) 18:57, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Awful introduction[edit]

Unlike most of the people here, I'm a total layperson who just happens to find biological classifications interesting. I find the current introduction to be awful and incomprehensible.

Let's look at this: "Historically, protists were treated as the kingdom Protista, which includes mostly unicellular organisms that do not fit into the other kingdoms, but this group is contested in modern taxonomy..."

This makes no sense to me for two reasons.

First of all, "protist" and "Protista" seem like two different forms of the same word, like "mammal" and "Mammalia"... yet this seems to be saying they're no longer considered the same? How can two different forms of the same word not refer to the same thing?

Secondly, the phrase "this group is contested in modern taxonomy" is true of EVERYTHING in modern taxonomy. In fact my impression is that cladistics is an attempt to destroy the classic notion of "taxonomy" completely so that only Ph.D. specialists are even allowed to refer to living beings in the first place. "What do you mean by dog? That's not even a meaningful term. Shut up you ignoramus."

The whole article now reeks of in-group pedantry and in-fighting. I know, I'm not in the field, I should just genuflect and move on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:22, 21 September 2012 (UTC)


I am not sure why this article is locked and "protissts" mis-spelling cannot be fixed ... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:35, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Nutritional types in protist metabolism[edit]

I think that it woul be clear to say that Phototrophs use as Source of carbon Inorganic Carbon (e.g. CO2) and Organic Carbon (talk) 09:40, 8 September 2013 (UTC)Luis

Lede is confusing & Modern_Classifications section is way better[edit]

The current Lede is not at all clear even after multiple readings & I had to go thru the talk-page to understand what is a Protist/Protista. This represents a total failure of the description in the current lede.

In contrast, I found the Modern Classifications section much better and would highly recommend replacing the content in the Lede with something on the lines of what is present in this section J mareeswaran (talk) 14:13, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

I was looking at the page just yesterday, and had exactly the same thought. A glance at past edits shows that the lede used to be much better, but has been deformed by well-intentioned editors who imagine they are defending "modern" (i.e. phylogenetic) classification. In its current form, the lede is very misleading. The claim that Protista is no longer in use as a formal taxon is simply untrue. A search on "Protista" in Google Scholar shows that the taxon is still in use in the professional literature (whether it should be used is, of course, a very different question, and is not for Wikipedia editors to decide). Informal use of the term is even more widespread in the professional literature. There are academic journals with names like Protist and The European Journal of Protistology, and organizations like the International Society of Protistologists (which cheerfully retains "protist" in its informal sense, while endorsing unranked cladification in its preferred taxonomy). Furthermore, whether we approve or not, five and six-kingdom classification schemes are still widely taught in schools and often feature prominently in educational materials aimed at younger students. Meanwhile, "modern" taxonomy is far from unanimous about the need to eradicate paraphyletic taxa. In the past ten years, we've seen a lively debate in publications like Taxon about that very question: should paraphyletic taxa be accepted? The classification scheme recently proposed by Ruggiero et al. in 2015 and adopted by the Catalogue of Life for its database, includes some paraphyletic taxa.
The lede needs to be rewritten to give lay readers a more accurate sense of how "protist" is currently used, both as a term of convenience and (like it or not) a formal taxon. Deuterostome (talk) 15:34, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
correct me if I am wrong.
  • Protist/Protista was a term commonly used till early 1990s to denote a kingdom under EuKaryotes that were not Animals/Plants or Fungi
  • modern classifications that treat Algae/Chromista as a separate kingdom under EuKaryotes instead use Protozoa in place of Protists
if the above is right then it can be placed in the beginning of the lead to avoid confusion J mareeswaran (talk) 17:00, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
I have provided summary based on Kingdom_(biology)#Summary If anybody feels this kingdom based classification is not representative of modern clade based systems, then you can change as follows:
  • 1) specify, what is the current usage of protist - if not relevant then state the last used meaning & till when it was used
  • 2) how modern clade based systems view protist/proctista/protozoa and where do they fit in it etc
This can replace the information in the first para, I have created. J mareeswaran (talk) 14:05, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

when I started editing this recently I was not aware that protoza and amoeba are no longer a monophylic clade/phylum. after browsing thru other wiki articles I can understand scenarios where even today it makes sense to use the "informal" term protist in a scientific sense

  • 1) to describe microbes which are NOT :- Bacteria,Virus, Viroids or Metazoans (animals) - note: don't think there are any Archaean pathogens
  • 2) instead of ambiguous classification terms such as amoeba (many Rhizarians) that might conflict with specific Amoeba (genus)
  • 3) for primitive/(lower life-form) taxons that are yet to be properly classified - such as most excavataes (metamonads, jakobids, Malawimonas, Collodictyon etc) whose position is not fixed & keeps changing within the cladistic tree
  • 4a) for organisms that either acquired properties due to HGT - such as Euglenozoaids which are considered one of the most primitive life forms that evolved before the acquisition of chloroplast by Eukaryotes but instead are theorized to have captured green algae (which would have evolved after them) in an endosymbiotic process
  • 4b) or for organisms which over a period of time dropped key properties that defined them in earlier phenetic classifications. for ex. most heterotrophic Apicomplexians (that evolved from autotrophic ancestors) were classified as parasites but now are found related to "plants" rather than "animals" and are classified under Alveolates - as they used to have chloroplast but have lost most of it now.
  • 4c) or mixotrophic Eukaryotes such as golden-brown algae species Dinobryon

there could be more such properties which continue to keep the usage of protists relevant in a scientific context. probably we should mentions some of them (with examples) in the Lede J mareeswaran (talk) 13:21, 3 March 2016 (UTC)


This help request has been answered. If you need more help, you can ask another question on your talk page, contact the responding user(s) directly on their user talk page, or consider visiting the Teahouse.

Archaeplastida includes land plants and things traditionally associated with the traditional kingdom Plantae so does it really make sense to include this taxonomic classification within Protista or to mention somewhere that this taxonomic group was once classified with the Kingdom Protista before it began including land plants? --Thenewguy34 (talk) 21:36, 3 October 2016 (UTC)

{{help me}} is meant to be used for help with editing Wikipedia, not page-specific content questions, so I have closed the request. There are 160 people who watch this page, so I am sure input will be forthcoming. Primefac (talk) 19:26, 9 October 2016 (UTC)
Hi, Thenewguy34. Thanks for raising this. First, to clear up the timeline...Archaeplastida, as defined in Adl et al., 2005, did not "begin" including land plants at some point. It included land plants (Plantae, sensu Haeckel, 1866) from the beginning, along with green algae, red algae and glaucophytes. The group is effectively synonymous with Plantae sensu Cavalier-Smith, 1981 (i.e. Plantae sensu lato), but since most of its species are protistan (in the common, informal sense of that word), the authors chose not to use Cavalier-Smith's nomenclature. In their original paper, they used Plantae only in its most strict and "traditional" sense, to mean "land plants" (embryophytes). In their revised paper of 2012, they avoid Plantae altogether, replacing it with the synonymous Embryophyta.
Unfortunately, a lot of confusion occurs when informal terms like "plant" and "protist" are used alongside formally defined taxa, such as Plantae and Protista. For instance, following the common informal definition of a protist as "any organism that is not an animal, plant or fungus," many workers refer to red algae and the unicellular/colonial green algae as "protists." However, if we take "plant" to mean any member of Cavalier-Smith's Plantae, then our informal definition of "protist" excludes rhodophytes, charophytes, etc. So, there is no real consensus on whether an organism like the flagellate Chlamydomonas is a "protist" or a "plant".
To add to the chaos, the taxobox to this Wikipedia article places all the supergroups from Adl et al. directly under the old "Kingdom Protista", which is quite misleading. While Sina Adl and his collaborators freely use terms like "protist" and "protistan," and published their classification under the rubric of the International Society of Protistologists, they do not use the formal taxon "Protista" and don't use ranks like "Kingdom". To place their cladification under a "Kingdom Protista" is nonsensical, since the other historic biological kingdoms (plants, animals and fungi) are included as lower taxa within two of their supergroups (Archaeplastida and Opisthokonta)!
One solution would be to remove taxobox entirely. Another would be to leave "Kingdom Protista Haeckel, 1866" in the taxobox, and transplant the supergroups into body of the article, perhaps in the modern classification section. A third solution--perhaps the least disruptive one--would be to leave the supergroups in the taxobox, but remove "Kingdom Protista" (perhaps discussing it a bit more fully in the Historical Classification section).  Deuterostome  (Talk) 13:27, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
A look at the history of the article shows that "Kingdom Protista" was added to the taxobox just a few months ago, by an unregistered user. If nobody objects, I'll remove it.  Deuterostome  (Talk) 15:22, 10 October 2016 (UTC)