Water flea morphs, SEM

Water flea morphs, SEM

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This image is part of the feature Morphing Water Fleas

Credit: CHRISTIAN LAFORSCH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Water flea morphs. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of differently-shaped forms of the water flea Daphnia cucullata. Research at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany has shown phenotypic plasticity in several water fleas; they can change their body shapes in response to chemicals (kairomones) given off by predators. The form on the left is a standard shape, whilst that on the right has developed a long helmet (green) and tail (blue, bottom), which may make it more difficult for invertebrates to catch or eat it. This flea's predators include the phantom midge Chaoborus sp. and the giant water flea Leptodora sp.. Magnification unknown.

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