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The paramecium is larger than the ameba. It can be found in ponds with scum on them. It has more of a shape than an ameba, looking like the bottom of a shoe. It is covered with tiny hairs that help it move. These hairs are called cilia. The paramecium is able to move in all directions with its cilia.

The paramecium eats tiny algae, plants, etc. The cilia propels the food into a tiny mouth opening of the paramecium. The food is then shoved down a little tube called a gullet that leads to the protoplasm or stuffing of the cell. The food is held in little cells called vacuoles. It has two other vacuoles at either end of its body to get rid of excess water and wastes. As with the ameba, oxygen and carbon dioxide pass through the cell membrane of the paramecium.

The paramecium has two nuclei, a big and small one. The big one operates as the director of the cell's activities, rather like a little brain. The smaller one is used for reproduction. The paramecium splits in half (fission) just as the ameba does. First the smaller nucleus splits in half and each half goes to either end of the paramecium. Then the bigger nucleus splits and the whole paramecium splits. Occasionally two paramecium exchange material and form a new paramecium. This is called conjugation.


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