Amoeba 1

The term “amoeba” refers to any single cell (usually a protozoan, but sometimes photosynthesizers) that exhibits amoeboid movement. Amoeboid movement is the process by which a cell achieves motility by forming temporary extentions of its cell membrane and filling it with cytoplasm; this is known as a pseudopod, or “false foot”. The amoeba then adheres to a substrate (such as a glass microscope slide…) and pulls itself along.

There are many forms of amoeboid pseudopodia. Perhaps the most basic are lobopodia, which are thick, often rounded protrusions.  Filopodia are much slimmer than lobopodia, and according to my own research, they tend to last longer than lobopodia. Axopodia are similar to filopodia, but are supported by a complex array of microtubules. Axopodia can be highly contractile and are sensetive to touch. Reticulopodia are thin, branching pseudopodia that are often found in messy networks. Lamellipodia are wide, flattened pseudopodia that are also supported by an array of microtubules (as is with most psuedopodia). Granulopodia are pseudopods that consist of many granules within the cytoplasm, and can take the form of filopodia or reticulopodia.