The Characteristics of Protists: Animal-like Protists, Plant-like Protists, and Fungi-like Protists – Do you realize that the water that you often use to drink, bathe, and wash clothes turns out to contain many microorganisms? The microorganisms are very small in size which can only be seen with the help of a microscope. Microorganisms are one of the thousands of living things included in protists kingdom.
In biological sciences there are various groupings of plants. Broadly speaking, the kingdom is generally divided into 3 types, namely kingdom Animalia, kingdom Plantae and the Protists kingdom. And in this discussion, we will discuss more about the protists, ranging from the characteristics of the protists to the sub of the protists.
Protists is a word taken from the Greek meaning “first”. Thus, the definition of protists is a first or unicellular microorganism. In this case there is a study that states that protists is the oldest organism in the entire kingdom.
In this world, there are at least 600,000 species of protists that have been recorded. Of the 600,000, most are unicellular organisms and the rest are multicellular and colonies, of which the multicellular protists have certainly classified themselves. Noteworthy is that protists is one of the constituent organisms of plankton.
Protists are eukaryotic microorganisms that do not include animals, plants, and fungi. Protists was previously considered a Kingdom, but now no longer. Protists was first observed by John Hogg in the 1860s as a primitive unicellular form of animals and plants.
At the time, the protists were known as kingdom “Protoctista”, which literally means “first living creature”. At the time, Protoctista was the fourth kingdom after animals, plants, and minerals. In 1866 Ernst Haeckel coined the name Protists.
Common examples of protists include: amoeba, Plasmodium, paramecium, slime molds, red algae, brown algae, golden algae, etc.
Characteristics of Protists
- Eukaryotic, i.e. The nucleus is enclosed by the core membrane and the organelles are surrounded by membranes. Protists existed before the appearance of plants, animals, and fungi.
- Aerobic respiration. Most protists are aerobic, requiring oxygen for their survival. Oxygen is used in respiration processes housed in mitochondria. However, some types of Protists are anaerobic, i.e. do not require oxygen in their lives. Anaerobic protists respiration by symbiotic with aerobic bacteria.
- Most are unicellular some form colonies. There are also multicellular ones, consisting of many cells. The multicellular protists have a simple body with no specialized tissue.
- Some reproduce ase**xually and some are se**xual.
- Some protists live freely, but some symbiotic with other organisms.
- Most of life in the water, namely in the sea or in fresh water, such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and others.
- Some Protists are heterotrophic, obtain food by absorbing organic molecules and others are photoautotrophic because they have chloroplasts as a place to capture solar energy.
- Protists are grouped into 3: animal-like protists (protozoa), plant-like protists, and fungi-like protists.
- Vegetative and Generative – The way of reproduction is divided into 2 kinds, namely vegetatively and generatively. That is, protists can regenerate by splitting or conjugating.
- Heterotrophs and Autrophtrophs – Some species of protists that have chlorophyll can make their own food so that it is referred to as an autotroph, while for others that do not have chlorophyll, they usually maintain their life by propping up in other plants as parasites.
It is referred to as plant-like protists because they have properties and traits that are almost owned by plants. Protists resemble this plant has autotrophic properties, that is, it can make its own food, then most of them have chlorophyll in order to perform the same process as the process of photosynthesis in plants.
Animal-like protists can also be referred to as protozoa. Where the word protozoa are taken from the Greek word ‘protos’ which means first and ‘zoon’ means animal. The general characteristics of protozoa are:
- The shape is very varied
- How to move using flagella, cilia, pseudopodia.
- Its life is very free, can be commensalism, mutualism or parasites
- The body size is very small which is about 10 microns to 6 mm
- The place to live is usually in a watery and humid place
Although it resembles a fungus, but this protists can not be included in the category of fungi, it is because the reproduction and the structure of the body is very different.