Why Doesn't Euglena Fit Into the Plant Kingdom?

Written by joy v. smith
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Why Doesn't Euglena Fit Into the Plant Kingdom?
Euglena can be found in ponds. (dual ponds image by Andrew Kazmierski from Fotolia.com)

Early scientists wanted to classify life forms as plant or animal, but Euglena exhibits both plant and animal characteristics. It uses photosynthesis, but moves like an animal. Some biologists think it might be the ancestor of both plant and animal cells.

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Plant Characteristics

Euglena is usually green and makes food like a plant; it finds light for photosynthesis by using a sense organ known as a stigma or eyespot. On the other hand, it does not have a cell wall.

Why Doesn't Euglena Fit Into the Plant Kingdom?
Euglena may be green, but they're not plants. (plants image by Vaida from Fotolia.com)

Animal Characteristics

Euglena eats other things as animals do, though not with a mouth, but by ingesting it, if it can't find light with its eyespot for photosynthesis. Euglena also swims, using its flagellum.

It's Own Classification

Most scientists include Euglena (Euglenophyta or Euglenoids) in the Protist or Protista Kingdom, where similar microscopic organisms, including amoebas and paramecium, are classified. It's a single-celled organism, and includes many species. It is similar to algae, but not related, but may be included in studies on algae. Zoologists may also include them in the study of protozoas, a single-celled animal.

Why Doesn't Euglena Fit Into the Plant Kingdom?
You'll probalby need a microscope to see Euglena. (microscope image by Goran Bogicevic from Fotolia.com)

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