Latin: rota = wheel; ferre = to carry
rotifera overview - Class Bdelloidea - Philodina roseola - Rotifer neptunis - Class Monogonata - Class Seisonidea
Rotifers are mainly
freshwater, but one Class (see below) is marine and some species can be found world wide, but most commonly in in humid
terrestrial habitats. About 1800 species are known, all ranging in length from
0.1 - 3.0 mm, and their normal life span is just a few days.
They tend to inhabit shallow waters, living on the bottom or on submerged vegetation or other surfaces and can be found in all types of water body from puddles, gutters to large lakes. The can also be found in damp woodland and meadows, especially in cushions of moss where there is a film of water allowing movement.
Many tissues are syncitial and the number of nuclei is fixed. The
anterior corona of cilia is used for movement and feeding. The cilia set up a water current to bring food particles to the mouth.
The body is often
covered in sculptured cuticle into which the corona can be drawn. The foot can
also be drawn into the cuticular covering. The toes or spurs, when present,
serve as an anchor. They are almost transparent (see right and below), with only the digestive tract
They move by creeping along surfaces, aided by the foot, or by swimming through the water with the beating of the coronal cilia providing propulsion. When they creep the corona is usually retracted into the body, and the adhesive secretions produced by the pedal glands stick to the substrate. When swimming the foot is retracted. There are three Classes.