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noun, plural: entamoebae, entamoebas

(1) (taxonomy) The genus belonging to Class Archamoebae, and found as a parasite or a commensal within the body of human or other vertebrate host

(2) Any protozoan of the genus Entamoeba


Entamoeba is a genus that belongs to Archamoebae. Archamoebae are distinguished from other species belonging to Phylum Amoebozoa through their lack of mitochondria. Thus, Entamoeba species do not possess such organelle and therefore do not carry out aerobic cellular respiration.

Entamoeba species are found as parasites or commensals of their animal hosts. The cell of these eukaryotes is small and possesses a single nucleus. Most Entamoeba species have a single lobopodium, which is a short, bulbous pseudopod. Their trophozoite form is approximately 10-20 μm in diameter. They divide by simple binary fission. Most of them are cyst-formers; the cyst serves as the infective stage in their life cycle.

Some of the Entamoeba species are Entamoeba coli and Entamoeba histolytica. Entamoeba coli is a non-pathogenic species that reside in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other mammals. They are sometimes confused with Entamoeba histolytica, which is pathogenic. The latter can cause entamoebiasis and amoebic dysentery to their host.

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