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iLabs: The Dance of the Rotifers

June 20, 2012

It is like a lovely silent ballet, the graceful arcing and swaying of the rotifers. Here they perform their dance on our EVOS microscope, magnified 200x.  The link to EVOS is for the fluorescent version of the scope, and ours is a regular compound scope, but looks the same.

A description of the “performance” follows below.

This video was shot with my cell phone from the microscope screen so excuse the technical imperfections. But still, you can see a number of variously shaped rotifers glide and sway across the screen with the grace of a ballet dancer. The “star” of the performance – one rotifer who has apparently used some of the cement secreted from glands near the toes, to hold itself in place. The rotifer at one point is horizontal, and on the right you can see tiny cilia moving as it sweeps food into a funnel leading to its mouth. If you watch closely, just to the left of that you will see what looks like a heart beating. That is actually the mastax – a 4 piece horny material used to grind up the rotifer’s food. The video proceeds to show the grace and ease with which these creatures move as they filter the environment for food.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Maggie Ray permalink
    June 20, 2012 9:51 am

    I love watching the rotifers’ various movement patterns….the cement on their posterior is cool stuff…and did you know that they don’t molt? So how do they grow? I’ve forgotten the details at the moment, but there are little “expansion joints” in their exoskeleton!

    I love what you’re doing!

    Maggie Ray, PhD

  2. June 20, 2012 10:33 am

    Dr. Ray, Thanks so much, both for your information on rotifera growth, and on our blog entries! I appreciate your comments and your help! I will add an entry dealing with this phenomena. Have a great day!

  3. June 20, 2012 10:38 am

    Reblogged this on NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs and commented:

    By Deb Bailey, Co-coordinator of the Micro World Lab in the NRC.

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