Euglena gracilis is a species of protists that grows in water, like most all protists do. They are a part of the phylum Mastigophora, which is the phylum of protists distincted by their use of one or two flagella to move and get around in their aquatic environments. Other phyla of protists are also differentiated by their method of locomotion. For example, others use cilia, pseudopods, or and free floating depending on their surrounding water.

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Euglena gracilis [Electronic Image]. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from: http://www.dr-ralf-wagner.de/Augenflagellaten-englisch.html

This species of Euglena has chloroplasts, and can therefore photosynthesize. However, it also is able to just "eat" food around it, like nutrients or sugars, by using phagocytosis. More specifically, it is a chemotroph. It feasts on organic matter around it. This has led to great disputes over which kingdom organisms like these should be placed into. In the end, the Kingdom Protista met these needs.

A very useful feature of this protist is its eyespot. The eyespot contains light-sensitve materials that help it detect light. This helps the organism by letting it know where the most light is coming from and where to face for optimal photosynthesis and sugar production. This is one of its adaptations. They also do not have a cell wall, and instead have a pellicle, which is softer and more flexible. This allows food to be absorbed through it without disturbing the cell too much. To reproduce, the euglena uses asexual reproduction by longitudinal fission, meaning the genetic material will split into the two ends of the cell, and the cell itself will split into two identical clones with the same genetic material. This allows them to

These euglena live in bodies of water, and can be found both in marine areas and areas of fresh water. They can also grow in moist soil. If the environment in which they live is too full of nutrients and too optimal for the euglena, they can sometimes be so prosperous that blooms are seen in the bodies of water. A bloom is a huge growth of certain species that takes over an ecosystem and is an indicator that some factors in the environment are way too high, causing the uncontrollable growht of certain species. This species specifically would grow into a green bloom because of the green chloroplasts inside them. These are often called algal blooms, because they most often occur by algae, but the same can happen just as easily from euglena. Being creatures of the sea, they have two flagella to propel themselves from place to place or to places of better sunlight to synthesize sugars more efficiently. Also, they do not have hosts, so they cannot follow the host's body fluids to travel around. It must rely on its own bodily features to get around.

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Euglenophyta, Euglena gracilis [Electronic Image]. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from: http://www.ohio.edu/plantbio/vislab/algaeimage/pages/Euglena.html

Something to look out for:
If you are able to see and notice a Euglena gracili bloom, it is a definite indicator of high pollution levels in the body of water, especially if the bloom is a think layer.

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Evglena (Euglena gracilis) [Electronic Image]. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from: http://www.svarog.si/biologija/index.php?page_id=7622


A video where you can see some of these euglena swimming around:


Another type of euglena time lapsed:





The following is the full taxonomy of this species:
Protista
Mastigophora
Euglenoidea
Euglenales
Euglenaceae
Euglena
gracilis


Euglena. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/195117/**Euglena**

ITIS Report. (2010). ITIS Standard Report Page: Euglena gracilis. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=9655


MicrobeWiki. (2010). Euglena gracilis. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from: http://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Euglena_gracilis

The Visual Dictionary. (2009). Euglena. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from: http://www.infovisual.info/02/001_en.html

Wikipedia. (2010). Euglena. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euglena