Microbial diversity in a paddy field water sample – Part 2


The water drop sample from the paddy field further showed moving diatoms and rotifers.

One particular organism puzzled me. At first, from its bifurcated tail, I thought it was a rotifer. But on better focusing, I observed its cilia.

Was it a ciliate? It seemed too big for a ciliate. YouTube and Google explorations indicated that this was neither a rotifer nor a ciliate, but an organism called Chaetonotus, belonging to the Phylum Gastrotricha.

Chaetonotus was an incredibly fast microbe and I struggled over an entire day to capture its movements in my videos. At the end of the day, when I finally recorded this video, this poor Chaetonotus must have been exhausted, as its movements had become very slow. I later learnt that the average life span of a gastrotrich is only around 3-21 days.

Look out for the next post!

See Part 1 and Part 3 of this series.

Cheers for now!

with Debashree, Jayashree, Chandrika

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear Ashalatha
    with Debashree, Jayashree, Chandrika

    What a beautiful capture you made; just absolutely fantastic. I have always wondered why they have a”forked” tail!

    Keep exploring

  2. Dear Manu garu,
    Thank you for sending me off on yet another fascinating info-chase!

    Most kinds of Gastrotichs live on the seabed or on other submerged surfaces, between particles of sediment. They have adhesive glands which secrete a glue that attaches them to a substrate. The two forks of the Chaetonotus’s tail have two cement glands: one secretes a sticking glue and the other secretes a de-adhesive agent to sever the connection. Isn’t that wonderful! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrotrich.

    Have bioengineers tried to copy this mechanism? This book by Nachtigall https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783642857775 describes the glueing part but does not apparently mention the de-glueing.


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