Amoeba proteus (core of Amoeba), alternatively Chaos diffluens,[1][2] is an amoeba closely related to the giant amoebae and a species commonly bought at science supply stores.

Amoeba proteus
Scientific classification
A. proteus
Binomial name
Amoeba proteus
(Pallas, 1766) Leidy, 1878

Volvox proteusPallas, 1766

  • Proteus diffluens O.F. Müller, 1786
  • Chaos diffluens (O.F. Müller, 1786) Schaeffer, 1926

This small protozoan uses tentacular protuberances called pseudopodia to move and phagocytose smaller unicellular organisms,(which may be greater in size than of amoeba), which are enveloped inside the cell's cytoplasm in a food vacuole,[3] where they are slowly broken down by enzymes. Amoeba proteus is very well known for its extending pseudopodia. It occupies freshwater environments and feeds on other protozoans, algae, rotifers, and even other smaller amoebae. Due to phytochromes, A. proteus may appear in a variety of colors (often yellow, green and purple) under a microscope.

A. proteus possesses a nucleus containing granular chromatin, and is therefore a eukaryote. Its membrane is a phospholipid bilayer similar to other Eukaryote organisms.


The first description of an amoeba that may have been A. proteus was in 1755, when August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof published drawings of an amoeboid protozoan he called the "little Proteus".[4] From there, various authors assigned Rösel's organism and other amoeboid protozoa various names: Carl Linnaeus termed Rösel's organism Chaos protheus in 1758.[4] Otto Friedrich Müller referred to it as Proteus diffluens in 1786.[4] In 1878, Joseph Leidy proposed the current name Amoeba proteus to describe Rösel's Proteus, Proteus diffluens, and another described amoeba Amoeba princeps.[4][5]


Although it has been regarded as a model “asexual” organism, Amoeba proteus has most of the key proteins associated with sexual processes, as do other amoebozoans.[6]

Image galleryEdit

Video galleryEdit

Amoeba proteus in motion
Amoeba engulfing a diatom

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Nishihara E, Shimmen T, Sonobe S (December 2004). "Functional characterization of contractile vacuole isolated from Amoeba proteus". Cell Struct. Funct. 29 (4): 85–90. doi:10.1247/csf.29.85. PMID 15665503.
  4. ^ a b c d Lorch J (1973). "Some Historical Aspects of Amoeba Studies". In Jeon K (ed.). The Biology of Amoeba (1 ed.). ISBN 9780323144049.
  5. ^ Joseph Leidy (1878). "Amoeba proteus". The American Naturalist. 12 (4): 235–238. doi:10.1086/272082.
  6. ^ Hofstatter PG, Brown MW, Lahr DJ (November 2018). "Comparative Genomics Supports Sex and Meiosis in Diverse Amoebozoa". Genome Biol Evol. 10 (11): 3118–3128. doi:10.1093/gbe/evy241. PMC 6263441. PMID 30380054.