Q:

What are the characteristics of Euglena?

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Quick Answer

Euglena are single-celled organisms that live mostly in fresh water, although a few species do live in salt water. They have long tails called flagella, which they use to move through water. Most species of euglena contain chloroplasts and produce their own food through photosynthesis.

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Full Answer

All euglena belong to the genus Euglena and the class Eugelnoidea. They are protists, which means they show characteristics seen in both plants and animals. Although most species do carry out photosynthesis using chlorophyll pigments, they also feed on other organisms by engulfing them in their cell membranes through a process known as phagocytosis. Euglena do not have cell walls, but they do have a special protein layer called a pellicle that surrounds the cell and offers protection.

Euglena reproduce asexually through a process known as binary fission. The process begins when the euglena replicates its DNA and expands in size. Then, it divides in half, creating two complete organisms, each with identical DNA.

Euglena are common in ponds and streams. They cannot be seen with the naked eye, but are easily visualized under a light microscope. Euglena are often identified visually by their red eyespots and the presence of flagella, which they use to detect light.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do Euglena get rid of waste?

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    Euglena excrete waste in the same way as other protozoans, through a vacuole sack that can take in and push out water loaded with nutrients or metabolic products. The vacuole sack enlarges as the waste products accumulate. These vacuoles are discharged as frequently as every half minute.

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  • Q:

    What is the shape of Euglena?

    A:

    The shape of Euglena resembles an elongated or spindle-shaped cell that is 15 to 500 micrometers, or 0.0006 to 0.02 inches, in length. Some species can change their shape as they lack a rigid cellulose wall, and instead have a flexible pellicle.

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  • Q:

    How do euglena gracilis reproduce?

    A:

    Euglena gracilis reproduce through a process called mitosis. In order to complete this process, they must be exposed to the right temperature and must be well-fed. Once a Euglena gracilis completes mitosis, it will split its self in two, which results in another Euglena gracilis. The completion of this process is best observed when another eyespot appears on a Euglena gracilis that is splitting in two.

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  • Q:

    How do Euglena digest food?

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    According to the Monroe County Women's Disability Network, Euglena digest food like any other protozoa by taking the food into the body and storing it in vacuoles where the nutrition is then spread throughout the body. These small organisms are able to eat food as well as produce it.

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