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Title: Cercozoa  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Vampyrellidae, Gymnosphaerid, Chlorarachniophyte, Ebriid, Euglyphida
Collection: Cercozoa, Rhizaria
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Cercozoa are a group of protists. They are defined by molecular phylogenies of rRNA and actin or polyubiquitin.[5]


  • Characteristics 1
  • Types 2
    • Filose (subphylum Filosa) 2.1
    • Reticulose (subphylum Endomyxa) 2.2
    • Ungrouped 2.3
  • Classification 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The group includes most amoeboids and flagellates that feed by means of filose pseudopods. These may be restricted to part of the cell surface, but there is never a true cytostome or mouth as found in many other protozoa. They show a variety of forms[2] and have proven difficult to define in terms of structural characteristics, although their unity is strongly supported by genetic studies. Cercozoa are closely related to Foraminifera and Radiolaria, amoeboids that usually have complex shells, and together with them form a supergroup called the Rhizaria.


They are sometimes grouped by whether they are "filose" or "reticulose".[6]

Filose (subphylum Filosa)

The best-known Cercozoa are the tectofilosids and Gromia. They were formerly classified with the euglyphids as the Testaceafilosia. This group is not monophyletic, but nearly all studied members fall in or near the Cercozoa, related to similarly shelled flagellates. Other notable filose cercozoans include the cercomonads, which are common soil flagellates.

Reticulose (subphylum Endomyxa)

Another important group placed here are the chlorarachniophytes, strange amoebae that form a reticulating net. They are set apart by the presence of chloroplasts, which apparently developed from an ingested green alga. They are bound by four membranes and still possess a vestigial nucleus, called a nucleomorph. As such, they have been of great interest to researchers studying the endosymbiotic origins of organelles.

Chlorarachniophytes are sometimes considered Filosa, rather than Endomyxa, while groups such as Gromia are considered Endomyxa.[7]


In addition, three groups that are traditionally considered heliozoans belong here: the Heliomonadida, Desmothoracida, and Gymnosphaerida, which were recently grouped into the new class of Granofilosea.[6]

Finally, cercozoans include the Phaeodarea, marine protozoa that were previously considered radiolarians.


The exact composition and classification of the Cercozoa are still being worked out. A general scheme is:

Class Chlorarachnea Chlorarachniophyta
Class Proteomyxidea Gymnophryida, Heliomonadida, Desmothoracida, Gymnosphaerida, etc.
Class Sarcomonadea Cercomonadida
Class Imbricatea / Silicofilosea Euglyphida and Thaumatomonadida
Class Thecofilosea Tectofilosida and Cryomonadida
Class Phaeodarea
Class Ebridea Ebridea

In addition two groups of parasites, the Phytomyxea and Ascetosporea, and the shelled amoeba Gromia may be basal Cercozoa, although some trees place them closer to the Foraminifera.

The spongomonads have been included here, but more recently have been considered Amoebozoa.

Some other small groups of protozoans are considered Cercozoa but are of uncertain placement, and it is likely many obscure genera will turn out to be cercozoans with further study.


  1. ^ Cavalier-Smith, T. (1998). "A revised six-kingdom system of life". Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 73 (3): 203–266.  
  2. ^ a b Cavalier-Smith T, Chao EE (October 2003). "Phylogeny and classification of phylum Cercozoa (Protozoa)" (PDF). Protist 154 (3–4): 341–58.  
  3. ^ Nikolaev SI, Berney C, Fahrni JF; et al. (May 2004). "The twilight of Heliozoa and rise of Rhizaria, an emerging supergroup of amoeboid eukaryotes". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 101 (21): 8066–71.  
  4. ^ Hoppenrath, M.; Leander B.S. (2006). "Ebriid phylogeny and the expansion of the Cercozoa". Protist 157 (3): 279–90.  
  5. ^ "SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY: CERCOZOA". Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  6. ^ a b Bass D, Chao EE, Nikolaev S; et al. (February 2009). "Phylogeny of Novel Naked Filose and Reticulose Cercozoa: Granofilosea cl. n. and Proteomyxidea Revised". Protist 160 (1): 75–109.  
  7. ^ "Cercozoa". Retrieved 2009-05-21. 

External links

  • Tree of Life Cercozoa
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