How Are Euglena Classified?


Quick Answer

Euglena are classified under the Kingdom Protista. As they can obtain food both autotrophically and heterotrophically, they belong to neither the animal or plant kingdom.

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Full Answer

Euglena are free-living unicellular aquatic flagellates with multiple methods of obtaining nutrition. Euglena share some characteristics with animals, as they are mobile and obtain nutrition from other carbon sources (heterotrophically), such as preying on bacteria or other unicellular organisms. Similar to plants, most euglena also feature chloroplasts within their cell walls, allowing them to obtain nutrition through photosynthesis (autotrophically).

The presence of these methods simultaneously made euglena difficult to classify under the traditional two-kingdom method, which only discriminated between animal and plants. Eventually, a third kingdom, Protista, was created to recognize the existence of organisms that featured characteristics of both animals and plants.

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