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The Vahlkampfia and related amoeba

Page updated 25/6/02

Figure 1.  Typical Vahlkampfia amoebae in culture showing predominantly monopodal locomotion with an eruptive pseudopod.  These amoebae are c 20mm in length.  
A group of small limax amoebae from fresh and sea water some of which produce cysts, flagella or both.  A large number of described species and genera have been placed in this group including the very common Naegleria some of which are pathogenic to man and other animals.  There has been a tendency to place amoeba that are not Naegleria in the genus Vahlkampfia, however, amoeba previously placed in this genus have been found not to be mono-phylogenic (Brown  & De Jonckheere, 1999).  Morphogenic characteristics such as the possession of a cyst stage and/or a flagellate stage occur sporadically in many of the proposed genera.


 Figure 2. Phylogenetic relationship of some members of the Vahlkampfia and related amoeba based on SSUrRNA gene analysis (Clustal X), using the barely related Entamoeba as an outgroup. Some names have been changed in accordance with recent suggestions (Brown  & De Jonckheere, 1999).  This figure illustrates the huge diversity present in the SSUrRNA gene itself and by inference at least, in these organisms genome in general.  








Brown, S. & De Jonckheere, J. F. (1999) A reevaluation of the amoeba genus Vahlkampfia based on SSUrDNA sequences. Eur.J.Protistol. 35, 49-54.

Page, F. C. (1967) Taxonomic criteria for limax amoebae, with descriptions of 3 new species of Hartmannella and 3 of Vahlkampfia. J.Protozool. 14, 499-521.

Page, F. C. (1988) A new key to freshwater and soil gymnamoebae. Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa.

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