Tail of microscopic sand-dweller worm Lepidodasys

Tail of microscopic sand-dweller worm Lepidodasys

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This image is part of the feature Aliens On The Beach

Credit: DAVID SCHARF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lepidodasys. Coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of the tail of the microscopic, sand-dwell- ing worm Lepidodasys, a type of gastrotrich. The genus Lepidodasys forms part of the extraordinari- ly diverse "meiofauna" - a community of primitive, microscopic animals that live in marine sands and graze on dead algae, bacteria and protozoa. The tube-like appendages on this animal are adhesive glands. These enable the worm to bind tightly to a grain of sand. The scale-covered body surface pro- tects against bashing in a turbulent environment. A single handful of wet sand is estimated to con- tain up to 10,000 diverse animals like Lepidodasys worms. Magnification: x370 at 6x6cm size. x550 at 4x5"

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Keywords: animal, beach fauna, gastrotrich, gastrotricha, invertebrate, invertebrates, lepidodasys, meio-fauna, nature, tail, wildlife, zoology

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