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What is a protist?

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Quick Answer

A protist is an organism in the Kingdom Protista. Protists belong to a very large, diverse group of organisms that are all eukaryotic, and most are unicellular. Examples of protists include red algae, amoeba and slime molds.

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Protists vary in their movement, and they are separated in locomotion categories of cilia (hair-like projections), flagella (thread-like, whip appendages) and pseudopodia (temporary projections). They also vary in the way they gain energy, as often a single method of acquiring energy is specific to a single protist. The four groups of protist energy are: photosynthetic autotroph, chemosynthetic autotroph, heterotroph by ingestion and heterotroph by absorption.

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