Protistology 3 (3) 148–190 (2004)
Guide to the methods of study and identification of soil gymnamoebae
Alexey V. Smirnov 1 and Susan Brown 2
1 Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology and Soil Sciences,
St.Petersburg State University, Russia
The present guide is an attempt to build a "bridge" between the general textbooks on protozoa and the guides to amoebae intended for specialists. We try to outline the subset of freshwater amoebae species that may be found in the soil and list them in the text. The extended introduction section provides detailed descriptions of the methods and shortcomings of amoeba investigation and gives one some ideas on the peculiarities, biology and ecology of soil amoebae. Special section guides the reader through the identification process to prevent him from potential errors. From our experience, dichotomous keys to amoebae are rather artificial and difficult in use, so this guide is based on a classification system of amoeba morphotypes, i.e. on the classification of the generalized shapes of the locomotive form of an amoeba. It allows easy and fast initial classification of an amoeba into one of 16 groups of species containing from two to twenty-five species. The section dedicated to each morphotype contains the sample plate of photographs and the list of relevant literature for further identification of species of the chosen morphotype.
Key words: gymnamoebae, amoeba, systematics, identification, methods, guide
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