Thursday 5 September 2013

A new species of Rotifer from Thailand.

Rotifers, or Wheel Animals, are a group of microscopic or near microscopic animals (50 μm-2 mm in length) found in non-marine (and, rarely, marine) waters around the world. Rotifers are bilaterally symmetrical, with worm- or box-shaped bodies and a distinctive feeding apparatus with a funnel-like mouth surrounded by tufts of cilia, which rotate rapidly, creating a current that sucks food into the mouth. Many Rotifers are planktic, forming an important part of the freshwater plankton, while others attach themselves to a substrate. A few species are colonial, and one group, the Bdelliods, have apparently been reproducing entirely asexually for millions of years.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 4 July 2013, Phuripong Meksuwan of the Plankton Research Unit at the Department of Biology at Prince of Songkla University and Pornsilp Pholpunthin and Hendrik Segers of the Freshwater Laboratory at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, describe a new species of Rotifer from Thale Noi Lake in Phatthalung Province, Thailand, discovered during a review of freshwater Rotifers from Thailand.

The new species is placed in the genus Collotheca, and given the specific name orchidacea, in reference to its Orchid-like appearance. Collotheca orchidacea is described from a three specimens, all female. It is a 340 μm long attached Rotifer with a funnel-shaped mouth surrounded by five cilia-bearing lobes and a short foot, found living on the bladder traps of Pipeworts (carnivorous plants).

Collotheca orchidacea, line drawings in (E) frontal and (F) dorsal views. Scale bars are 100 μm. Meksuwan et al. (2013).

The approximate location of Thale Noi Lake in Phatthalung Province, the only location from which Collotheca orchidacea is known. Google Maps.

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