|A Virtual Pond Dip
Note: If visiting this page directly, it is designed to be used with the virtual dip in the jar of pond water.
Name (genus) :Amoeba
Size : 20 - 1200 µm
Where to find them : Decaying organic matter e.g. on leaves and surface of bottom mud.
Notes : Although usually common, they're not always abundant, so casual pond dipping may not find them. Inspect samples from the habitats above carefully in a Petri dish with low power first, to locate specimens for study at higher powers. The finger-like protusions (pseudopodia) are used for movement and feeding.
The amoeba shown is a so-called naked amoeba. There are also testate amoeba which live in shells (tests). Squeezings from Sphagnum moss may often contain examples of testate amoeba.
The species Amoeba proteus, although apparently rare in the wild (see ref. 4), is often cultured for classroom studies of a protozoan. Amoeba are widely described and illustrated in biology textbooks.
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Published in Micscape Magazine February 2001.
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All images © Wim van Egmond