Paramecium: Definition, Characteristics & Parts

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Phylum Annelida Circulatory & Nervous Systems

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Paramecium
  • 0:39 Parts & Their Purpose
  • 1:44 Fun Facts
  • 2:18 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ebony Potts

Ebony has taught middle and high school physical science, life science & biology. She's also been an assistant principal and has a doctorate in educational administration.

Have you ever heard of a paramecium? Do you know what a paramecium looks like or where it lives? In this lesson you will learn all about this organism, including some of its important characteristics.


You can't wait to get to science class today. Yesterday Mrs. Chen said that you were going to look at a paramecium under the microscope. When you get to class, you find what looks like beakers of cloudy water on each of the lab tables. When you ask where the organisms are, Mrs. Chen says that they're in the water.

Mrs. Chen demonstrates how to get the paramecia onto the slide so that you can view them under your microscope. Wow! Look at all those tiny organisms swimming in the water. Mrs. Chen asks you to observe the paramecia and write down your observations. You and your lab partner get started.

Parts & Their Purpose

A paramecium is a single-celled microorganisms that's a part of Kingdom Protista. Paramecia are slipper-shaped and nearly see through, which is why you had a hard time seeing them in the beakers of cloudy water.

Paramecia are covered in a protective pellicle that functions like skin and protects them from the elements. On the edges of the pellicle are the cilia, or tiny hair-like structures. The cilia assist paramecia with movement and sweep food toward the oral groove located in the middle of the paramecium's body. The oral groove functions like the mouth of the organism.

Paramecia are heterotrophs, which means that they eat other organisms to obtain energy. As you and your lab partner continue to observe the paramecia under the microscope, you notice that they dine on algae, bacteria, and yeast.

'Whoa!' you yell, as you watch one paramecium get attacked by another organism. Mrs. Chen tells you that it was probably a didinium, one of the most common predators of paramecia. It attacks the paramecium by shooting poison darts into it. After disabling the paramecium, the didinium eats it.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account