Mniobia magna- a bdelloid wheel animalcule
 
Dear visitor,

The initial idea for this website came up when we wanted to document the ecological work of our highschool which is located in the southern part of the Ruhr-district in Germany, thereby creating an online catalogue of the species occuring in the surroundings of our school. The focus was on the microscopical life in aquatic freshwater environments, i.e. a small pond that has been surveyed for more than 10 years before it was replaced by a new pond. A nearby brook complements the biodiversity with species typical for lotic waters.

The first update followed when the biological (marine and terrestrial) results of our excursions to the mediterranean sea were added.

If one tries to identify microscopical organisms it soon becomes evident that certain species can only be unequivocally identified by comparing them with other closely related species from other habitats. Therefore the online catalog now covers species collected and studied from other locations, first within Germany. One emphasis is now on rotifers. So discoveries from locations of adjoining European countries are included as well. About 450 taxa of rotifers are documented up to now.

Also the section of the marine species has undergone an update by adding images of species from several diving excursions in tropical sea areas.

Michael Plewka

news & updates
Rotifers from birdbaths and lithotelmata (11/2020)
Bdelloid rotifers are world champions when it comes to survive desiccation. This can be demonstrated even at home if there is a garden with a bowl of water which may serve as birdbath in summer. There are some typical rotifers that can be observed in such birdbaths. Also the granite rocks of the coastal landscape of Brittany/ Francey have dents that can fill with water. (Lithotelmata). In these ephemeral puddles some special rotifers were found, whose characteristic combinatios of traits does not correspond to those of the taxa described in the literature so far. More on this here >>>
Division of the ciliate Stentor roeselii (11/2020)
For the second time the division of the ciliate Stentor roeselii could be observed. More on this here >>>
Frontal aspects of bdelloid rotifers (09/2020)
It is of course a trivial thing to point out that the name of the "wheel animalcules" is derived from the "wheel-like" appearance of their front part. Although I have been dealing with this creatures for quite some time now, there are still certain phenomena that are fascinating for me, and there are also some phenomena which I still don't really understand. More on this here >>>
Enigmatic Neuston (05/2020)
During the last weeks without rain in the western part of Germany the surface of a pond in our vicinity was covered by a layer of unique algae that established a very special biocoenosis of protists and rotifers. Species found in this habitat include: Suctoria, Vorticella campanularia, another strange ciliate, unidentified Chlorophyta; Chlamydomonas sp.; Chrysophyta. Only two species of rotifers were present in this habitat: the monogonont Cephalodella catellina and Cephalodella hoodi.
The males of monogonont rotifers (05/2020)
The males of monogonont rotifers are still very enigmatic. According to the known literature up to now the males of some species have never been observed worldwide. So it is likely that the images which Dr. Martin Kreutz shot of of the male of Cephalodella tenuiseta / gigantea and generously allowed to present them on this website are the first of this critter ever.
Some other rotifer males that have been added within the last weeks are: Cephalodella catellina, Filinia longiseta and Asplanchna priodonta.
some observations on rotifer resting eggs (04/2020)
Females of monogonont rotifers produce three different sorts of eggs: (1) diploid amictic eggs from which amictic females hatch, (2) haploid mictic eggs which develop into males if not fertilized, and (3) haploid mictic eggs that develop into diploid resting eggs if fertilized. The resting eggs of monogonont rotifers may be looked upon not as eggs but as multinucleate embryos that are in a resting state while enclosed in a shell. In several species the nuclei of the embryo could be observed: Asplanchna priodonta, Filinia longiseta and Rhinoglena frontalis
marine critters from Bali (04/2020)
In March 2020 I had the chance to visit Villa Markisa in Tulamben/ Bali / Indonesia, which is a fantastic resort for muck diving. Norris, my diveguide showed me a lot of critters I had never seen before. The main focus was on molluscs / nudibranchs, but there are other organisms as well. Here are some of them....
rotifers from Bali (04/2020)
Some bdelloid rotifers have been found in the moss of Tulamben/ Bali: Habrotrocha ligula and a Macrotrachela species.
Updated information for the rotifer Rhinoglena frontalis (04/2020)
Although the monogonont rotifer Rhinoglena frontalis is a plankton species it seems to be very rare. Dr. Ole Riemann had the luck to find a pond with this species and allowed to present some of his fantastic images on this website. More on this here >>>>
limnic plankton in springtime (03/2020)

The limnic plankton in our area differs in many respects from the plankton in summer or fall. Aside from rotifers like Synchaeta pectinata or Synchaeta oblonga we found found an abundance of ciliates like Frontonia leucas, Didinium nasutum or Pelagothrix plancticola. Some aspects / reasons why there are seasonal changes in the species composition of the limnoplankton are explained here (pdf).

 

Some new rotifers and updates (01/2020)

The bdelloid rotifer Adineta oculata has been found as "contamination" in a protist culture. The bdelloid rotifer Habrotrocha thienemanni var. has been found on the bark of an oak tree in the nature reserve NSG Schwalm /Nette/ Germany. Updated information for Encentrum lutra and Macrotrachela ehrenbergii.

 

Rotifer images of Dr. Martin Kreutz (10/2019)

Dr. Martin Kreutz, author of the outstanding book about protists and other microscopic organisms from the Simmelried in southern Germany has contributed some fantastic images about some rare rotifers from that location, for example Collotheca atrochoides and Collotheca libera. These photographs seem to be the only ones from these critters and are unique in the www. Other images show some interesting features of the retrocerebral organ of Cephalodella forficata.

 

Microscopic organisms from Brittany / France (08/ 2019)

Brittany / France is not only an gorgeous place for recreation and sightseeing, but also offers a lot of potential sites for sampling microscopic organisms.
The observation of organisms living in small coastal rock pools reveals some very interesting bdelloid rotifers which seem to be adapted to the desiccation of their environment. Several morphotypes of Adineta (here called Adineta sp. 16 and Adineta sp. 18) or Philodina vorax have been found.
Other rotifers which were found in other habitats are: Albertia reichelti, Aspelta cf macra, Colurella adriatica, Encentrum felis, Rotaria socialis
In the intertidal zone the acoel flatworm Symsagittifera roscoffensis could be observed.
In the tree hole of a sweet chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) a strange morphotype of Paramecium could be observed.

 

New Adineta morphospecies (06/2019)
Another meeting of the BMG took place at the biological station "Teerofenbrücke" in the nature reserve "NSG Unteres Odertal". Two weeks before the meeting microslides had been exposed at selected aquatic locations to allow the settlement of microscopic organisms on these slides. Also the plankton and periphytic organisms of the billabongs of the river Oder were observed. In the dry moss from a wall of a floodgate a new morphospecies of Adineta was found.
Mesopsammon fauna (05/2019)
Some members of the "Berliner Mikroskopische Gesellschaft" (BMG) had a meeting at the German coast of the Baltic Sea and -among other studies- examined the mesopsammon fauna of the beach of Priwall opposite of Travemünde. The organisms living between the sand grains are highly adapted to their environment. Some organisms that could be observed are: otoplanid flatworms, hairybacks like Turbanella sp. or Hetereoxenotrichula, but also ciliates like Trachelocerca cf sagitta.
Planktonkurs NSG Heiliges Meer (04/2019)
At the end of April, again the plankton course took place at the biological station of the nature reserve "NSG Heiliges Meer". Because of the variety of waters and wetlands in this nature reserve, this course is ideal for microscopists. In addition to the opportunity to observe the aquatic life using the available (or one's own) microscope, the course offers the opportunity, through the practical measurement of physical and chemical data in conjunction with lectures, to learn more about the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors in the ecosystem "lake". Some of the found species include among others: the protists: Vorticella chlorostigma, Gastronauta clatratus, Thuricola folliculata, Heliophrya rotunda, Clathrulina elegans; the rotifers Collotheca campanulata, Cephalodella physalis, Floscularia janus, and the algae: Botryococcus braunii, Gonyostomum semen, Mallomonas caudata and Synura uvella.
Cephalodella stenroosi (03/2019)
The monogonont rotifer Cephalodella stenroosi was found in a pond in Hattingen.
Turaniella vitrea in a sapropelic creek bank in Hattingen/NRW (01.2019)
The hymenostomatid ciliate Turaniella vitrea from the Heierbergsbach in Wodantal. Also the euglenoid flagellates Phacus smulkowskianus and Trachelomonas ellipsoidalis were found there.
A new bdelloid rotifer from the "Arnsberger Wald" (12/2018)
   
A bdelloid rotifer that looks like a variation of Macrotrachela decora was found on a layer of Trentepohlia-algae in the vicinity of the "Kapellenplatz" in the forest south of Warstein.
A single worm infested by three parasite species (12/2018)
In a sample of the Simmelried near the "Bodensee" a specimen of the oligochaete Nais sp. was found which had been infested by the ciliate Rhabdostyla inclinans and the rotifers Cephalodella parasitica and Albertia naidis.
Microscopic Organisms from Hiddensee (11/2018)
In the course of the Hiddensee-excursion of the Berliner Mikroskopische Gesellschaft, which had been kindly organized by W. Bettighofer (protisten.de), a lot of interesting microorganisms were found. The findings were influenced by (1) the special environment of the Hiddenseer Bodden and (2) by the focus on organisms that had settled on the surface of microslides that had been exposed in certain liminic and marine environments some weeks before. Some of the species that were found are ciliates like Tintinnids; Aspidisca crenata, Folliculina boltoni, Thuricola folliculata; algae like Pediastrum tetras and rotifers like Colurella dicentra, Encentrum marinum, Testudinella clypeata. The complete list of the documented species is here.
Some Organisms from Sphagnum ponds in Griendtsveen / NL (11/2018)
For the preparation of a meeting of the Naturwissenschaftliche Vereinigung Hagen, some samples were collected from Sphagnum ponds in Griendtsveen/ Netherlands. Some species found are: Collotheca coronetta coronetta, Keratella ticinensis, Lepadella minuta, Microcodides chlaena, Proales doliaris, Synura sphagnicola, and ciliates like Halteria grandinella, Holophrya sp., the hypotrich ciliate Urostyla grandis and its parasite, the suctorian Podophrya urostylae.

Updates
Updated information for the ciliate Nassula ornata
Updates
Updated information for the gastrotrich Heterolepidoderma and the rotifer Epiphanes senta,
Limnic microscopic organisms from Brittany / France
Ankistrodesmus fusiformis, Brachionus diversicornis, Cephalodella biungulata, a special morphotype of Dicranophorus hauerianus were found in a trench in Bourg Blanc. Rotaria sordida was found in LeConquete.
Marine microscopic organisms from Brittany / France
Some interesting rotifers and protists were found in the harbor ground of Portsall and some tidal pools from the coast of Britanny/ France: Encentrum marinum, Colurella uncinata. In a ditch a morphotype of Dicranophorus hauerianus was found that is different from the descriptions in the literature. Some Ciliates like Enchelys sp. feeding on a ciliate, Diophrys cf scutum, Mesodinium sp./ Myrionecta sp., and the phagotroph dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina.
Habrotrocha ligula from NSG Koffituten
A bdelloid rotifer that looks like Habrotrocha ligula has been found in the nature reserve NSG Koffituten near Hopsten (Tecklenburger Land), but also shows some differences.
Updates
Updated information for Brachionus angularis, Proales fallaciosa, Proales decipiens, Rotaria citrina, Trichocerca porcellus
Two rotifer species from treeholes
Habrotrocha thienemanni and Habrotocha tripus are two rotifer species that have been found in the treeholes of Fagus silvatica
Rotifers in Frullania moss
Arnold Büschlen, an expert on mosses (swissbryophytes) sent some samples of the liverwort Frullania digitata, the amphigastria of which host a special fauna of bdelloid rotifers like for example Habrotrocha annulata, Mniobia symbiotica or Mniobia scarlatina.
Some plankton and other microscopic organisms from the nature reserve NSH Heiliges Meer
The "plankton course" at the biological station of the NSG Heiliges Meer is always a rewarding event: Because of the variety of waters and wetlands in the NSG, this course is ideal for people who like to study the microscopical life of limnic waters. In addition to the opportunity to observe the aquatic life using the available (or one's own) microscopes, the course offers the opportunity to learn a great deal about the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors in the ecosystem "lake" through the practical measurement of physical and chemical data in conjunction with presentations. Besides diatoms and other algae like Synura spinosa some protists like Vorticella aquadulcis or Coleps hirtus and some rotifers like Collotheca trilobata, Kellicottia bostoniensis, Gastropus minor or Synchaeta with parasites could be found.
Ceratotrocha cornigera

This strange looking bdelloid rotifer has been found in Witten, Germany

Some rotifers from Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
A trip to the islands of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) revealed some rotifers which have not been covered on this website beforef Encentrum uncinatum and E. permolle, and some Bdelloids like Habrotrocha elusa and a strange morphotype of Adineta cuneata.
Some organisms from Bodman & Simmelried / Germany

At the end of September 2017 the traditional meeting of some microscopists from Austria, Switzerland and Germany took place in the beautiful location in Bodman at the Bodensee. In samples from the Bodensee, Mindelsee, and the "Simmelried" some rotifers were found, among others Beauchampiella eudactylota, Collotheca mutabilis, Colurella tesselata, and Mytilina bisulcata, some microscopic details on Squatinella mutica and Trichocerca intermedia. thSome Euglenoids like Trachelomonas ellipsoidalis and Trachelomonas verrucosa var. granulosa have been found as well.

Some new rotifers & additions
As a supplement to the paper of Iakovenko et al. (2015): "Antarctic bdelloid rotifers: diversity, endemism and evolution" some images of the species described are presented here. In this survey some new species have been discovered, for example Adineta coatsae, Habrotrocha vernadskii or Macrotrachela jankoi. Others are endemic like Adineta editae or Habrotrocha angularis. The whole list of the documented species in this website can be found here .
 
Some organisms from a salt spring
A sample from the "Elisabethquelle" in Bad Frankenhausen/ Südharz revealed some interesting organisms, among others some special protists like Loxophyllum verrucosum, Chlamydodon triquetrus and Lacrymaria salinarum. The rotifers include Encentrum marinum and Lecane arcuata. Also some autotroph organisms were found: Enteromorpha sp.and Melosira nummuloides.
Some new rotifers & additions
Proales doliaris and Brachionus urceolaris from Griendtsveen/NL; Arcella artocrea; Macrotrachela nana ligulata; Habrotrocha collaris with parasites; Rotaria citrina from Ebbemoore/ NRW, Aspidiophorus silvaticus and Encentrum martoides from Norway, Euastrum binale; ; Closterium navicula.
Some rotifers from the Phillipines
Anilao in the Batangas area of Luzon/ Philippines is one of the most rewarding dive locations in the world for underwater macro photographers. But this is not all. A moss sample collected in Club Ocellaris revealed some interesting bdelloid rotifers, among others a new form of Adineta.
Some monogonont rotifers
Pourriotia werneckii (Proales werneckii), Encentrum marinum and Cephalodella cf. tenuior have been found in pond near Hattingen, Germany.
Updated
New images for Macrotrachela multispinosa var. brevispinosa, Macrotrachela plicata var. plicata, Philodina flaviceps, Philodina rugosa, Rotaria sordida, Floscularia melicerta.
Abrochtha intermedia from an ephemeral puddle in Germany
Abrochtha intermedia has been found in an ephemeral puddle in Hagen/ Germany. Although this species is supposed to be cosmopolitan this may be the first discovery of A. intermedia in Germany.
Updated information for some rotifers, desmids and protists.
How does Floscularia ringens build its tube?; Some photographic insights in the morphology of the tube building organ. New images for Philodina roseola. New Cosmarium (C.margaritiferum) added.
Updated information for some rotifers, desmids and protists.
Updated information for the monogonont rotifers Lecane hamata, and the bdelloid rotifer Adineta vaga. Images of the desmids Cosmarium margaritatum, Cosmarium tetragonum, Cosmarium speciosum and Closterium archerianum added. A new ciliated protist with lorica Vaginicola cf. terricola found in a moss sample.
Updated information for some rotifers and protists
Updated information for the monogonont rotifers Colurella obtusa, Encentrum mustela, Keratella ticinensis, Pleurotrocha petromyzon, Pleurotrocha sigmoidea, Squatinella mutica var. mutica, and the bdelloid rotifer Philodina citrina. Images of the protists Euglypha acanthophora and Wailesella eboracensis added.
Four new rotifers & some protist images added
A strange kind of Scepanotrocha, probably S.parva, Habrotrocha flaviformis, Macrotrachela festinans and Macrotrachela petulans have been found in NRW. New images for Proales fallaciosa, Urocentrum turbo and Blepharisma lateritium.
Some Microinvertebrates from Svalbard
Encentrum permolle, Macrotrachela nana, Macrotrachela musculosa, a strange kind of Adineta gracilis and some Tardigrades from James I Land, Svalbard.
Some interesting species from the Simmelried near Konstanz, Germany
Macrochaetus subquadratus and some nice protists like Chilodonella caudata and Coleps amphacanthus as well as Trachelomonas armata were found in a bog of the Simmelried venn.
Two rotifers from Czech Republic
Asplanchna priodonta var. henrietta and Brachionus diversicornis were found in Bohemia, Czech Republic.
Notommata pachyura
Notommata pachyura pachyura, a rotifer that can get very big has been found in Hattingen.
On the feeding of Collotheca pelagica
Some insights into the digestive system of Collotheca pelagica.
Beauchampiella eudactylota
Beauchampiella eudactylota has been found in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
Tetrasiphon hydrocora
Tetrasiphon hydrocora has been found in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
Some new images for Scepanotrocha rubra, Cephalodella gracilis and Lecane agilis from new locations.
Kellicottia bostoniensis
Kellicottia bostoniensis has been found in the Ohligser Heide, NRW, Germany.
Enteroplea lacustris
Enteroplea lacustris has been found in the "Rotes Moor" in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
Wahner Heide/ Cologne/ Germany: a great place for rare critters
Three years ago the rare rotifer Ptygura rotifer (Pseudoecistes rotifer) had been rediscovered in the Wahner Heide near Cologne. Now the newly described bdelloid rotifer Otostephanos jolantae has been found there. This is probably the first record for Germany. The monogonont Trichocerca cavia could be documented for this location as well.
Macrotrachela zickendrahti
Macrotrachela zickendrahti has been found in a nature reserve Oberrasen/ South Tirol. This rotifer looks pretty weird with its bizarre spines.
New images for Macrotrachela habita
Macrotrachela habita has been found in a moor-area near the Steinhuder Meer in Lower Saxony/ Germany
Resticula plicata from Bavaria
Resticula plicata has been found in the nature reserve Kendlmuehlfilze in Bavaria/ Germany
Some algae images added
Some new desmids and chlorophyte alge from the Alps and other locations have been added to this site, among others: Cosmarium holmiense, C. subundulatum, C. venustum, Cylindrocystis crassa, Desmidium grevillei, Hyalotheca mucosa, Euastrum ampullaceum, Euastrum crassum, Tetrallantois lagerheimi, Westella botryoides, Xanthidium bifidum.
The eversion of the daughter coenobia of Volvox could be observed.
 
 
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