Amoeba was discovered by Russel von Rosenhoff in 1755. He called it the little proteus after the mythical sea god who is believed to be capable of changing shape.
Several species of Amoeba are known ,Amoeba proteus (Gr, amoib= change ) is commonest and best known .Other common species are .Aradiosa ,A discoides and A verrucosa. The following description is largely based on A proteus.
Habit and Habitat
Amoebae inhabit fresh or marine water and moist soil. A proteus is abundant in bottom mud or surface scum of ditches , ponds, lakes streams , etc, having plenty of decaying organic matter ,Normally ,it creeps upon solid objects feeds upon algae, bacteria, etc, responds to stimuli and multiplies by mitosis.
Culture of Amoeba
Temporary cultures of amoeba can be easily prepared for laboratory study by hay infusion method , Dry and clean leaves grass wheat grains or banana peals are boiled in distilled water for about 15 minutes. The water is then filtered and allowed to stand open for 2to 3 days .This allows abundant bacterial growth in it ,Now some half rotten leaves are brought from a pond or ditch, washed ant put into the filtrate. Within a week the filtrate abounds with amoebae. A drop from the bottom of the container on to a slide shows several amoebae when observed under the microscope.