Eukaryotic cells that lack cell walls often have
glycocalyces composed of carbohydrate compounds.
These structures are very loosely bound to the cell membrane and help to
anchor cells together (often referred to as the extracellular matrix or
basement membrane in multicellular organisms), prevent water loss and aid
in cellular communication.
Some eukaryotes, such as some of the protists and parasitic
worms can also form protective cysts around
themselves when they become dormant due to dehydration or when they infect
tissues such as muscle.