Paramecium, Biology tutorial


Paramecium belongs to the kingdom of Protista to the class ciliate protozoan in the Phylum Protozoa. Paramecium is a unicellular organism, though; its body is more complicated than that of the Amoeba. Dissimilar amoeba, paramecium consists of a different and permanent shape and certain areas of cytoplasm (cell organelles), are specialized to take out particular functions. The body is covered by fine a cytoplasmic hair-like structure which is termed as cilia. They are mainly found in pond water and streams having decaying matter.

They are around .5mm long (.02 inches). They are as well renowned for their predator-prey relationship with the Didinium. Paramecium is mainly known for their escaping behavior. When encounters a negative stimulus, it is able of rotating up to 360 degrees to discover escape route. Didinium are the heterotrophic organisms. They merely encompass one kind of prey; the much bigger ciliate Paramecium. If a Didinium discovers a Paramecium, it emits poison darts (that is, Trichocysts) and attachment lines. The Didinium then carry on engulfing its prey. However Paramecium are bigger than they are, Didinium are voracious eaters and will always be ready to hunt for other meal after just a few hours.

Physical Appearance:

With fine vision, it is likely to just make out the speck of a paramecium, as they are around .02 inches (.5 mm) long. They are better seen beneath a microscope, where a slipper or kidney shaped cell can be noticed. Lining the exterior of its membrane are very small, beating hairs termed as cilia. Cilia move in conjunction, similar to a line of oars on a ship, to move the paramecium all the way through liquid. The eukaryote is even smart adequate to navigate around obstacles and in the direction of food.

If a paramecium meets food, it spins to move the food into its gullet. The gullet is a small opening, similar to a mouth. It is lined by other cilia to assist 'swallow' the bits of organic or decaying matter it eats, like bacteria or other unicellular organisms. The food will continue down the gullet to get stored in the food vacuoles till the cell requires energy.

It might as well be possible to make out other rounded structures, termed organelles, that kind of function similar to an animal's organs. The paramecium should keep osmotic equilibrium, which signifies the water pressure, exterior to its skin and within its body requires being equal at all times. Contractile vacuoles pass water from within the cell to outside and vice-versa.


Paramecium lives in fresh water ponds or pools and feed on microscopic organisms like bacteria and single-celled algae. Paramecium can take in food just at the Cytostome. The cilia in the oral groove make a current of water that wafts the food organisms up to the Cytostome where they are swallowed in the food vacuole. This food vacuole then obeys a specific route via the cytoplasm. On its travels, enzymes are secreted to the vacuole and the food is digested. The substances, digested are then absorbed into the cytoplasm.

Any undigested matter is excluded via the anal pore.

Respiration process in Paramecium:

Oxygen diffuses in, whereas the carbon-dioxide diffuses out via the whole body surface. The concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water is much higher than that within the cell, whereas the concentration of carbon-dioxide within the cell is much higher than that in the water. Oxygen thus diffuses into the cell whereas carbon-dioxide diffuses out of it. Oxygen that diffuses into the cell can get to all parts of the cell through diffusion, whereas carbon-dioxide in any part of the cell can diffuse out.


Paramecium and amoeba both live in fresh-water. Their cytoplasm includes a high concentration of solutes than their surroundings and therefore they absorb water through osmosis. The surplus water is gathered into a contractile vacuole that swells and at last ejects water via an opening in the cell membrane.

In amoeba, the vacuole makes close to the posterior end however is not related with a specific structure. Even if it empties its contents via an opening in the cell membrane, this as well doesn't appear to be of permanent pore.

Paramecium consists of two contractile vacuoles, one at each and every end that fill and contract alternately. They are permanent structures and the excess water is conducted to the vacuoles through a sequence of radiating channels.

Movement in Paramecium:

Paramecium requires moving in order to take in food.

i) Movement is mainly carried out by employing cilia.

ii) If the cilia beat backwards (that is, backstroke), the animal is pushed onward and if the cilia beat ahead, the animal returns to previous position.

iii) The cilia stop beating if the animal stops or vary the direction of movement.

iv) The structures termed as myonemes are employed for altering shape or squeezing the body of the animal throughout locomotion.

v) The propulsion of food vacuole, all along a more-or-less definite path around the protoplasm of a protozoan is abnormal to paramecium.

vi) Movement can be quick through ciliary action either gliding or swimming over surfaces.


Under most conditions, paramecia reproduce through dividing themselves down the middle and giving all new organisms half of the organelles. This is termed as binary fission and is a simple kind of asexual reproduction. Occasionally, a paramecium will meet up other and exchange genetic material through a sort of primitive sexual reproduction. The membranous skins join to form one big paramecium, at which point the small micronuclei which hold all of the genetic material switch around. If it splits into four smaller paramecia, they now encompass new blends of DNA.

Importance of paramecium:

a) The paramecium comprise of a significance ecological factor in the environment as it aids to clean up small particles of debris in the water and also feeding small animals.

b) Paramecium can assist in controlling the algae, bacteria and other protists which can be found in water. They can as well assist to clean up very small particles of debris in the water.

c) Paramecium is as well employed for teaching purposes in classes associated to the biological sciences as the organisms are relatively transparent and there are quite a few visible organelles.

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