noun, plural: protozoa or protozoans

Eukaryotic organism belonging to a group characterized for being single-celled, mostly motile and heterotrophic.


Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a protozoan.


In a five-kingdom scheme of classifying organisms, protozoa 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 zoon = animal.

Synonym: protozoon.

See also: protista.

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