Schuster, Frederick L. Department of Biology, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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Any protozoan moving by means of protoplasmic flow. In their entirety, ameboid protozoans (or ameboid protists) include naked amebas, those enclosed within a shell or test, and more highly developed representatives, such as heliozoians, radiolarians, and foraminiferans. Ameboid movement is accomplished by pseudopods—cellular extensions that channel the flow of protoplasm. Pseudopods take varied forms and help distinguish among the different groups. A lobe-shaped extension or lobopod is perhaps the simplest type of pseudopod (see illustration). The shapelessness and plasticity of these locomotory organelles impart an asymmetric, continually changing aspect to the organism. Other, more developed, representatives have pseudopodial extensions containing fibrous supporting elements (axopods) or forming an extensive network of anastomosing channels (reticulopods). Although involved in locomotion, these organelles are also functional in phagocytosis—the trapping and ingesting of food organisms (usually bacteria, algae, or other protozoa) or detritus. See also: Amoebida; Foraminiferida; Heliozoia; Phagocytosis; Protist; Protozoa; Radiolaria
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