The freshwater flagellate alga Euglena agilis Carter was exposed to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) anthracene for 96 h under optimal photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and responses of growth, photosynthetic pigment production, and photosynthetic efficiency were assessed. Anthracene reduced the growth rate (μ) and levels of chlorophyll a (Chl a), chlorophyll b (Chl b), and total carotenoids. The growth rate was more sensitive than photosynthetic parameters, with a median effective concentration (EC50) of 4.28 mg L-1. Between 5 and 15 mg L-1, anthracene inhibited the maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) of photosystem II (PSII) and the maximum photosynthetic electron transport rate through PSII (rETRmax) with EC50 values of 14.88 and 11.8 mg L-1, respectively. At all anthracene concentrations, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were elevated, indicating increased oxidative stress. Anthracene presumably reduced the PSII efficiency of photochemical energy regulation and altered the photochemistry through intracellular ROS formation. Acute exposure to PAHs may induce severe physiological changes in phytoplankton cells, which may influence vital ecological processes within the aquatic environments. Additionally, growth and Chl a content may serve as sensitive risk assessment parameters of anthracene toxicity in water management since EC50 values for both overlap with anthracene levels (8.3 mg L-1) permitted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).