Water flea defence, SEM

Water flea defence, SEM

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This image is part of the feature Garden Enemies, Garden Friends
This image is part of the feature Morphing Water Fleas

Credit: CHRISTIAN LAFORSCH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Water flea defence. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water flea (Daphnia magna) being attacked by a dragonfly (order Odonata). Research at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany has revealed phenotypic plasticity in several water fleas; they can change their body shapes in response to chemicals (kairomones) given off by predators such as the dragonfly. The changes in morphology often include an enlargement of the head into a pointed helmet, or the growth of a long tail spike. Such changes may make it more difficult for invertebrate and vertebrate predators to catch or eat the fleas. Magnification unknown.

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