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 longicephala. 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 large crest on its head (green), which may make it more difficult for invertebrates to catch or eat it. This flea's predators include the backswimmer (family Notonectidae). Magnification unknown.

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