Euglena is commonly studied in biology classes because it has both plant (it has chloroplasts and so can photosynthesize) and animal (it moves and can eat) characteristics. Depending on conditions, photosynthesis or eating can predominate. It is a single celled creature with a large flagellum (not visible in this video, see below) that lives in fresh water. It is generally elongate but can change its shape quite dramatically during so-called euglenoid movement. It swims using its flagellum and can orientate itself with respect to gravity and light.
Like other euglenoids, Euglena oxyuris has a red eyespot, an organelle composed of carotenoid pigment granules. The red spot itself is not thought to be photosensitive. Rather, it filters the sunlight that falls on a light-detecting structure at the base of the flagellum (a swelling, known as the para flagellar body), allowing only certain wavelengths of light to reach it. As the cell rotates with respect to the light source, the eyespot partially blocks the source, permitting the Euglena to find the light and move toward it (a process known as photo taxis).