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Sea Ice Rotifers

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Rotifers are small multicellular animals mostly in the size range of 0.2-0.5 mm. Their Latin name means wheel-bearer which refers to a crown of often fast-moving cilia around the mouth area, making them look lit whirling wheels. These cilia draw water into the mouth which is ground by jaws called trophi. In the largest group, the Monogononta (about 1500 species), the body is extendible and covered with a transparent cuticle. At the foot end, a cement gland enables the rotifers to attach to surfaces.

The group has several ways of reproduction including parthenogenesis where females produce females from unfertilized eggs, and sexual reproduction. A different group of rotifers, the bdelloids (about 350 species), only occur infrequently in marine waters. This group has the special ability to survive drying through cryptobiosis.

Rotifers are omnivorous and found both in pack and fast ice. Eight rotifer species belonging to the Monogononta, were identified in sea ice of the Barents, Laptev and Greenland Seas.


Page Author: Bodil Bluhm & Russ Hopcroft
Created: Feb 10, 2009

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