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The Mysterious Archaeas

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What are archaeans? Archaea were discovered in the early 1970s. Same as bacteria they are single-celled. The unique structure of DNA of Archaea places it in the individual kingdom. There is still a lot of information we do not know about archaea. Most of them can survive in highly extreme environments and are known as extremophiles.

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Archaea Cells

We can’t see archaeans with the naked eye, it is a very small organism which has to be observed under the microscope. Archaea have the variety of shapes including cocci (round), bacilli (rod-shaped), and irregular shapes. Archaeans cell structure just as same as prokaryotic cell structure it includes: plasmid DNA, cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, and ribosomes. Some archaeans also have long, whip-like extensions called flagella, which maintenance movement.

Archaea Domain

Archaea now is an individual domain. Under the archaea domain, there are three main phyla. They are Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota.


Crenarchaeota includes hyperthermophiles and thermoacidophiles. Hyperthermophilic microorganisms live in extremely hot or cold environments. Thermoacidophiles are microscopic organisms that live in extremely hot and acidic environments. Their habitats have a pH between 5 and 1. Examples of Crenarchaeota includes Sulfolobus acidocaldarius – which we can find near volcanic environments in hot, acidic springs containing sulfur. Another example is Pyrolobus fumarii – which lives in temperatures between 90 and 113 degrees Celsius.


Euryarchaeota organisms include mostly of extreme halophiles and methanogens. Extreme halophilic organisms live in salty habitats. They need to live in salty environments to survive. Methanogens need oxygen-free (anaerobic) conditions in order to survive. They produce methane gas as a byproduct of metabolism. The natural habitat of this organism is swamps, wetlands, ice lakes, the guts of animals and in sewage.

Examples of Euryarchaeota species is Halobacterium – which is a halophilic organism.


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Korarchaeota is a very primitive life form. We do not know a lot about major characteristics of this organism. We do know that they are thermophilic and have been found in hot springs and obsidian pools.

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