How Do Amoebas Move?


Quick Answer

As explained by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, amoebas move by extending projections of their body. Once one of these projections, which are called pseudopods, is extended, it remains stationary, and the cytoplasm from the rest of the amoeba’s body moves into the pseudopod. The term "pseudopod" means “false foot.”

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Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found that the locomotion of amoebas is related to the temperature of their environment. When the researchers subjected a sample of amoebas tocold water, they found that the single-celled organisms moved much more slowly and eventually stopped moving altogether.

Scientists at Virginia Tech are trying to construct robots that use locomotion styled after the ways amoebas move. Such flexible, shape-shifting designs are ideally suited for search and rescue missions, in which a robot may be forced to squeeze through tiny openings. Alternatively, these robots may be helpful for developing surgical robots that travel inside the human body.

According to WebMD, some amoebas are responsible for causing illness in humans. One such species, known to scientists as Naegleria fowleri, can cause serious problems as the organism feeds on brain tissue once inside the human body. Normally, the amoebas consume bacteria in their natural habitat.

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