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infusoriainfusoirs (fr.); Infusoria (ger.)

  • A class of Protozoa, comprising ciliated, tentaculate, and flagellate animalcula, essentially unicellular, free-swimming, or sedentary; so called because found in infusions of decaying animal or vegetable matter.Originally, as constituted by O.F. Müller, the Infusoria comprehended an assemblage of minute, usually microscopic, organisms, of many diverse kinds, including some now classed as vegetables, as the Diatomaceæ and the Desmidiaceæ. As now limited, the Infusoria are Protozoa characterized by a half-liquid endosarc, a firm cortical ectosarc, an outer membraneous cuticle, a mouth and anus, and a contractile vesicle which injects fluid. They were regarded by Huxley as a primary group in the animal kingdom. (OED)
    animalculis infusoriis
    Wrisberg, H.A. (1765). Observationes de animalculis infusoriis

    Animalcula Infusoria

    Müller (1786). Animalcula Infusoria fluviatilia et marina.


    The animalcula infusoria take their name from their being found in all kinds either of vegetable or animal infusions.

    Kanmacher, F. (1798). Adams’s Essays on the Microscope, 2nd ed.: 416.

    Les Infusoirs et les Polypes
    Lamarck, J.B. de (1809). Philosophie zoologique, 2 vols.: I, 283.
    Die Thiere der ersten Ordnung [of protozoa] sind die durchaus einfachen und gallertartigen Infusorien
    Goldfuß, G.A. (1818). Probe aus Goldfuß Handbuch der Zoologie. Isis 1818, 1670-1676: 1671.