Difference between Macronucleus and Micronucleus of Paramecium

Paramecium is a unicellular ciliated protozoan. It is characterized by its slipper-shaped body and the presence of thousands of cilia covering its surface. Paramecium is a heterotroph, meaning that it must feed on other organisms for energy. It is found in freshwater and brackish habitats. You can watch our Paramecium Cell Structure Video here

Difference between Macronucleus and Micronucleus of Paramecium



Larger in size; therefore called “macro”

Smaller in size, therefore called “micro”


One or two

Somatic functions, such as metabolism and reproduction or vegetative nucleus

Genetic functions, such as meiosis and conjugation or germline generative nucleus



More DNA content

Less DNA content

It is essential for survival

Not essential for survival

The macronucleus is essential for the survival of the paramecium, while the micronucleus is not. If the macronucleus is removed, the paramecium will die within a few days. If the micronucleus is removed, the paramecium can survive, but it will not be able to reproduce.

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