by Piter Kehoma Boll
The adjective “giant” can be quite relative. When regarding microorganisms, even something with a few milimeters can be considered a giant, and that is the case with the giant amoeba Chaos carolinense (sometimes wrongly written as Chaos carolinensis).
Measuring up to 5 mm in length, the giant amoeba is a freshwater organism and is easily seen with the naked eye and, since it is also easily cultivated in the laboratory, it became widely used in laboratory studies.
As with amoebas in general, the giant amoeba has an irregular cell with several pseudopods that can contract and expand. The cell has hundreds of nuclei, as it is common with species of the genus Chaos, this being the main difference between them and the closely related genus Amoeba.
The diet of the giant amoeba is variable and includes bacteria, algae, protozoan and even some small animals. In the lab, they are usually fed with ciliates of the genus Paramecium.
Wouldn’t the giant amoeba make a nice unicelular pet?
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Tan, O. L. L.; Almsherqi, Z. A. M.; Deng, Y. (2005) A simple mass culture of the amoeba Chaos carolinense: revisit. Protistology, 4(2): 185–190.
Wikipedia. Chaos (genus). Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_(genus)>. Access on June 20, 2017.
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