Protozoan Symbioses


Protozoan symbiosis describes a condition of existence in which two protozoa or a protozoan with another partner – a virus, a prokaryote, another protist or a multicellular eukaryote – live together. It brings nutritional benefit to both symbionts or to only one of them, or it may be detrimental to one of them.

Keywords: protozoa; symbionts; mutualism; commensalism; parasitism

Figure 1.

Live individuals of species of the genus Naegleria. (a) and (b) Crawling amoebae. (c) Cyst. ×1400. Photo by Dr I. Dyková.

Figure 2.

Silver impregnated cytoskeletal structure in the adhesive disc of Trichodina reticulata, an ectocommensal from the skin of a fish. ×2000.

Figure 3.

Bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma carassii from the blood of common carp. ×1900.



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John DT (1993) Opportunistically pathogenic freeliving amoebae. In: Kreier JP and Baker JR (eds) Parasitic Protozoa, 2nd edn, vol. 3, pp. 139–246. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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Further Reading

Ball GH (1968) Organisms living on and in protozoa. In: Chen TT (ed.) Research in Protozoology, vol. 3, pp. 565–718. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Hausmann K and Hülsmann N (1966) Protozoology. Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag.

Kennedy CR (1975) Ecological Animal Parasitology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Lee JJ, Hutner SH and Bovee EC (eds) (1985) An Illustrated Guide to Protozoa. Lawrence, KS: Society of Protozoologists.

Margulis L, Corliss JO, Melkonian M and Chapman DJ (eds) (1990) Handbook of Protoctista. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Orenski SW (1966) Intermicrobial symbiosis. In: Henry SM (ed.) Symbiosis. vol. 1, pp. 1–29. New York: Academic Press.

Schmidt GR and Roberts LS (1997) Foundations of Parasitology, 5th edn. St. Louis, MO: TimesMirror/Mosby College Publishing.

Sleigh MA (1989) Protozoa and other Protists. London: Edward Arnold.

Trager W (1986) Living Together. The Biology of Animal Parasitism. New York: Plenum Press.

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How to Cite close
Lom, Jiří(May 2001) Protozoan Symbioses. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001932]