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Pfiesteria is a dinoflagellate but it is mentioned here as it is suspected by some to have an amoeboid stage.  The genus is named for Lois Pfiester a noted phycologist.  "Amoeba" is a general term for any protist that locomotes by a crawling motion and amoebae are therefore not necessarily related. Pfiesteria is important as some species (e.g. P. piscicida) is associated with fish kills. A debate (Kaiser, 2002) continues as to whither this occurs through direct contact with the fish gills (Vogelbein et al, 2002) or through a toxin (Burkholder et al, 1997).  A second debate concenring the existence of the amoeboid phase is also on going (Miller & Belas, 2003).


Miller, T. R. & Belas, R. (2003) Pfiesteria piscicida, P. shumwayae, and other Pfiesteria-like dinoflagellates. Res. Microbiol. 154, 85-90.

Kaiser, J. (2002) MICROBIOLOGY: The Science of Pfiesteria: Elusive, Subtle, and Toxic.  Science. 298, 346-349.

Vogelbein, W. K., Lovko, V. J., Shields, J. D., Reece, K. S., Mason, P. L., Haas, L. W. & Walker, C. C. (2002) Pfiesteria shumwayae kills fish by micropredation not exotoxin secretion.  Nature. 418.

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