How Are an Amoeba and a Paramecium Different?

Paramecia are ciliates, meaning they use hairlike growths, or cilia, to move around their environment, while an amoeba is a sarcodine, meaning that it forms pseudopods that let it move around and feed. Amoebas live in water and soil, while paramecia appear in fresh water.

Amoebas capture food by surrounding it with pseudopods, creating a food vacuole to break down the food into nutrients. Paramecia also use food vacuoles to digest what they eat, but the paramecia take in food using the oral groove. When food moves through the oral groove, it enters a vacuole at the end, which separates from the groove to help digestion.

Another difference between the paramecium and the amoeba has to do with the function and number of the nucleus. An amoeba only has one nucleus, which manages all of the functions of the cell, including reproduction. Paramecia have a large nucleus and a small nucleus. The small nucleus manages reproduction, while the large nucleus is in control of all of the other functions of the cell.

An additional difference has to do with the shape of these protists. Paramecia keep a consistent shape because of the pellicle, a covering that is flexible but does not allow the shape of the organism to change. Amoebas change shape every time they add a new pseudopod.