About this Guide

This is an illustrated guide to protists (protozoa and algae) from Singapore, especially from freshwater habitats.

Everything you see here has been sampled from ponds, drains, and other places in the city and around the island. You don’t have to look very far to find microscopic life: some of those shown here are from parks and gardens, while others are from urban roadside drains.

Using the guide

Use this guide to understand what you are seeing through the microscope.

The organization is hierarchical. At each step, decide which description best matches what you’re looking at, and follow the link. This should allow you to distinguish major groups of protists that you might encounter.

Each entry is illustrated by photomicrographs of material from Singapore. Only organisms and groups that I have observed and documented are included in this guide, so some taxa that might be expected to occur in Singapore are not yet featured here.

Please take note that…

  • This guide is not for species identification, which is impractical for now as most protist groups in Singapore have not been studied by taxonomic specialists.
  • Most of the pages describe freshwater protists. Marine protists are a world of their own and there are no plans to cover them at present.
  • The arrangement is meant for ease of identification, and does not necessarily reflect current understanding of evolutionary relationships between species.

The guide remains a work in progress, so it is very likely that you’ll encounter something that’s not described here.

Contributions of images and write-ups are also welcome! See the page on How to find and study protists for tips on documenting your finds. Contact me with this form.

This page is maintained by Brandon Seah.


I’d like to thank Maxine Mowe and the rest of the Freshwater Biology lab at NUS, headed by Darren Yeo, for their kind hospitality and the use of their microscopy equipment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
Content on SGProtist by sgprotist.wordpress.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, unless otherwise indicated.


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