Rotifer

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Monogononta
Digononta
Bdelloidea
Seisonidea

The rotifers (commonly called wheel animals) make up a phylum of microscopic and near-microscopic pseudocoelomate animals. They were first described by Rev. John Harris in 1696, and other forms were described by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1703.[1] Most rotifers are around 0.1–0.5 mm long (although their size can range from 50μm to over 2 millimeters),[2] and are common in freshwater environments throughout the world with a few saltwater species; for example, those of genus Synchaeta. Some rotifers are free swimming and truly planktonic, others move by inchworming along the substrate, and some are sessile, living inside tubes or gelatinous holdfasts that are attached to a substrate. About 25 species are colonial (e.g., Sinantherina semibullata), either sessile or planktonic. Rotifers are an important part of the freshwater zooplankton, being a major foodsource and with many species also contributing to the decomposition of soil organic matter.[3]Most species of the rotifers are cosmopolitan, but there are also some endemic species, like Cephalodella vittata to the Lake Baikal[4]

Contents

Taxonomy and naming

Rev. John Harris first described the rotifers (in particular the Bdelloid Rotifer) in 1696 as "an animal like a large maggot which could contract itself into a spherical figure and then stretch itself out again; the end of its tail appeared with a forceps like that of an earwig".[1] In 1702, Anton van Leeuwenhoek gave a detailed description of Rotifer vulgaris and subsequently described Melicerta ringens and other species.[5] He was also the first to publish observations of the revivification of certain species after drying. Other forms were described by other observers, but it wasn't until the publication of Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg's Die Infusionsthierchen als vollkommene Organismen in 1838 that the rotifers were recognized as being multicellular animals.[5]

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