And Still More ProtozoaWe couldn't fit all of the types of protozoa on one page, so here is part two. Protozoa might also be called protists. These are the bad boys of the microbe world (bad meaning "advanced"). Protists are eukaryotes with special structures that may be the base organisms of multicellular organisms. Meaning: they have structures that can be seen in advanced creatures and those structures are not seen anywhere else in the microbe world. The list continues.
Protists with TailsThe next protists are called flagellates because they move with a specialized tail called a flagellum. They live in water and the water inside of dirt. The flagella whip around like a not-so-coordinated fish tail. When it whips, the protist scoots along though the water. They do not do well in dry areas. They need that liquid environment to move. Remember when we said that protists have specialized structures you can see in animals? Sponges are a great example of where you will see flagella in action.
Protists with HairsWhile a flagellum is a long tail structure, cilia are short little hairs. The classic example of a ciliate protist is a Paramecium. They are the very complex protists that have little hairs all over their body. The hairs flap and push the organism through the water. They can even hunt down food and attack them with a structure called a trichocyst. Instead of surrounding their prey like an amoeba, they take in the food through an oral groove (a protist version of a mouth). They even have a way of getting rid of the food through an anal pore. They might not seem like much to you, but the structures are very advanced for a single-celled creature. They were the first creatures to have them.
Parasitic ProtistsLast, we'll talk about the parasites of the protist world. Not all protists go about their life eating little bits of food in a pond. Some, called sporozoans, are nasty little parasites. These protists, like all parasites, cannot live on their own, and they harm the host organism over time. A disease called malaria is caused by one example of a sporozoan protist.
Okefenokee – Osceola Connection (US Forest Service)