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Lepidodermella squamata

ORDER Chaetonotida

FAMILY Chaetonotidae

TAXONOMY

Lepidodermella squamata (Dujardin, 1841), River Seine, Paris, France.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A short, tenpin-shaped gastrotrich that grows to 0.007 in (0.19 mm) in length. Distinct, five-lobed head separated from the body by a short neck. Trunk has posterior caudal furca and two adhesive tubes. Cuticle consists of scales without ridges or spines. Cilia present on the lateral margin of the head and ven-trally in two rows.

DISTRIBUTION

Freshwater bodies across the United States (Arkansas, Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, and North Carolina), Brazil,

Uruguay, Japan, and much of Europe. Probably distributed worldwide.

HABITAT

Found on aquatic vegetation in lakes, ponds, swamps, and streams. Also may occur interstitially in sandy sediments.

BEHAVIOR

Slow ciliary glider, with spectral sensitivity to blue light.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Diet consists of microalgae, bacteria, and organic detritus. REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The life cycle begins with parthenogenetic reproduction and the deposition of up to four eggs. Eggs usually are opsiblastic (slow developing) and can survive desiccation and freezing; some eggs are tachyblastic (fast developing). The parthenogenetic phase is complete within a few days, after which the animal becomes a simultaneous hermaphrodite.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Commercially available for laboratory study. ♦

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