Amoeba Holiday

by Wim van Egmond, the Netherlands


It is January and freezing cold. A freshwater pond is covered by a thick layer of ice. Deep below, on the bottom, insulated by a carpet of detritus lives a small amoeba. It's hardly moving. If it hadn't been a single celled protist it would probably have shivered. If it had any mental capacities it would have wished that the ice was gone and the holiday season had started.

Then the amoeba could feel the sun again. With its bright light that persuades the waterplants and algae to grow into a dense underwater jungle. The amoeba's pseudopods becoming agile in the warm water, the protoplasm quickly changing from fluid to solid and vice versa. The water expelling vesicle starts pumping, removing the water that is taken up by the cell, just because the protoplasm is more saline than pond water. The nucleus is already making plans for cell division.


Near the corner of the sphagnum moss leaf is the best place to meet friends.

In the morning the amoeba's descent from the hill and hurry towards the shore. It's time to show off their surfing skills.

And if the waves aren't in the mood there is always the good old skate board.

Or you can make a quick escape to the fun fair.

Endless afternoons are spent doing funny impressions.






But it is winter now. It is too cold for an amoeba holiday. The amoeba doesn't mind. It doesn't even have a mind. It is just the microscopist who is wishing it was spring again.



Comments to the author Wim van Egmond are welcomed.

Visit the Micropolitan Museum

Microscopy UK Front Page
Micscape Magazine

Article Library

all material Wim van Egmond

Published in January 2010 Micscape Magazine.

Please report any Web problems or offer general comments to the Micscape Editor.

Micscape is the on-line monthly magazine of the Microscopy UK web site at Microscopy-UK Ltd, Microscopy-UK, and all contributors 1995 onwards. All rights reserved. Main site is at with full mirror at .