STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bdelloid rotifer. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the retracting foot of a bdelloid rotifer (class Bdelloidea). Rotifers (phylum Rotifera) are microscopic aquatic animals that are related to roundworms. Bdelloids are a class of rotifer found in freshwater and moist soil. They are of interest because males are not present within the species, and females reproduce exclusively by parthenogenesis (without fertilisation). Each individual has paired gonads. Despite the fact that they have been asexual for millions of years, they have diversified into more than 300 species and are fairly similar to other sexually-reproducing rotifer species. Magnification: x4000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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