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iLabs: The Racing Amoeba…or “The Blob?”

October 17, 2012

I realize that people do not look fondly on amoebas, as they usually associate them with bad memories of a bout of amoebic dysentery. And it’s true that they often resemble the amoebic Mars alien creature that infected the astronaut in the 1959  sci-fi flick, The Angry Red Planet , or a smaller version of the monster in the 1958  Steve McQueen cult classic, “The Blob.”

But old movies and dysentery aside, you have to hand it to amoebas. For a tiny creature, they can sure move across a microscope slide….FAST!  If you don’t believe me, here’s some video footage I shot of an amoeba from one of our Micro World protozoan cultures (we maintain our own collection of live cultures).  It is on a microscope slide that we displayed on our 50-inch TV monitor. Given that kind of a stage, and seemingly knowing it was being watched by an avid audience of visitors, this amoeba made short work of sliding behind a rotifer, even as a Euplotes kept pestering both.  Enjoy!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maggie Ray permalink
    October 17, 2012 9:47 am

    great pictures! The details of that ameboid movement are described in Buchsbaum’s classic Animals without Backbones, and many other sources I’m sure. Wonder how it knows where it wants to go?

  2. October 17, 2012 1:26 pm

    Reblogged this on NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs.

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