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Name derivation:

eu- (good, true, or primitive) -glene (eyeball)


Euglena  Ehrenberg  1830;  126 of 553 species descriptions are currently accepted taxonomically (Guiry and Guiry 2013).

 Order Euglenales;  Family Euglenaceae

As Leedale (1967) points out, Euglena was considered both animal-like and plant-like until Fritsch (1935) equated them with other photosynthetic flagellates and classified them as ‘Class Eugleninae’.  Now, of course, the Euglenophyceae are one of more than 15 classes of ‘algae’.


Free swimming unicell, ovoid or elongate with one emerging flagellum and a second so reduced in length that it is neither visible nor functional. Cells are spindle-shaped, cylindrical in cross-section, although most species can change cell shape by contraction, a process called metaboly.  Much of the length of the emerging flagellum is thickened and stiffened by a paraflagellar rod so that only the distal end is propulsive.  Cell movement is helical.  In addition many species undergo ‘metaboly’ – changes in shape of the flexible ‘pellicle’ (strips of contractile protein located just beneath the plasmalemma).

Similar genera:







Guiry, M.D. and G.M. Guiry  2013.  AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.  http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 30 April 2013.

Leedale, G.F.  1967.  Euglenoid flagellates.  Prentice-Hall. (242 pp).






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