A cell of Paramecium is about as big as the dot at the end of a
printed sentence. It is covered all over with tiny hair-like "cilia" that
beat rhythmically to push the Paramecium along. The cilia also waft food
particles towards the cell's "mouth". Inside the cytoplasm the food is
digested by enzymes in a food vacuole. Two or three contractile vacuoles
squeeze out extra water which is always diffusing into the cell, as
Paramecium lives in fresh water. Each organism has at least two nuclei, a
large macronucleus and one or more micronuclei. Material from micronuclei
is exchanged when two Paramecia come together (conjugate). Without
conjugation, a Paramecium eventually ages and dies, but sex gives it a new
lease on life.
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