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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Heliozoa \He`li*o*zo"a\, n. pl. [NL., fr. Gr. ? the sun + zo^,on an animal.] (Zo["o]l.) An order of fresh-water rhizopods having a more or less globular form, with slender radiating pseudopodia; the sun animalcule.

  1. n. protozoa with spherical bodies and stiff radiating pseudopods

  2. [also: heliozoa (pl)]


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Heliozoa, commonly known as sun-animalcules, are microbial eukaryotes ( protists) with stiff arms ( axopodia) radiating from their spherical bodies, which are responsible for their common name. The axopodia are microtubule-supported projections from the amoeboid cell body, and are variously used for capturing food, sensation, movement, and attachment. They are similar to Radiolaria, but they are distinguished from them by lacking central capsules and other complex skeletal elements, although some produce simple scales and spines. They may be found in both freshwater and marine environments.