noun, singular: protozoon

Eukaryotic organisms belonging to a group characterized for being single-celled, most of them motile and heterotrophic.


In a five-kingdom scheme of classifying organisms, they belong to a taxonomic group within Kingdom Protista, and typically divided on the basis of their means of locomotion: Flagellates (e.g. Giardia lambdia), Amoeboids (e.g. Entamoeba histolytica), Sporozoans (e.g. Plasmodium knowlesi), Apicomplexa, Myxozoa, Microsporidia, and Ciliates (e.g. Balantidium coli).

Word origin: from Greek protohi = first and zoa = animals

Related forms: protozoan (noun or adjective), protozoic (adjective).

See also: protista.

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