What do all protists have in common?


Quick Answer

All protists are eukaryotic, meaning they feature a cellular structure with nuclei to contain their genetic material. Also called protozoans, which means "first animals," all protists prefer a moist environment and are found where there is perpetually moist soil or in freshwater and saltwater bodies of water.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Along with the nucleus, most protists also feature mitochondria which aid in metabolic functions, and vacuoles which aid in digestion. This means that despite sometimes being of very small size, protists are relatively complex organizations from a functional standpoint.

Other than these basic similarities, the nature and features of protists vastly vary. They may be unicellular or multicellular and range in size from microscopic to 300 feet in length. However, even in the largest multicellular protists, there is no cellular specialization or differentiation in tissues types. While protists are not classified as plants, animals or fungi, they may display plant-like, animal-like or fungi-like characteristics.

The Kingdom Protista was established by the scientist Ernst Haeckel in 1866. It was not officially recognized by the larger scientific community until a century later in the 1960's. The Kingdom Protista is often called a"junk drawer" since it comprises all the eukaryotics that cannot be classified into any other kingdom.

Learn more about Biology

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are protists?

    A: Protists belong to the Kingdom Protista, which consists mostly of unicellular organisms that don't fit into other kingdoms. Protists can either be heterotr... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do protists move?

    A: Locomotion in the protist kingdom is varied and extremely versatile. Amoebas use cytoplasmic processes called pseudopods, while paramecia have rows of cili... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do protists live?

    A: Protists live in lakes, rivers, oceans, ponds and wet sediments. Since they are microscopic organisms, they can live in just about any part of the world th... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are harmful protists?

    A: Some harmful protists include plasmodium, gregarines, haemosporidia and coccidians. Others include babesia, toxoplasma, adeleorina and some forms of amoeba... Full Answer >
    Filed Under: