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Rotifer with volvoxRotifers get their name from the moving cilia (hair-like structures) located around their “corona” that make it look like a spinning electric razor head. This particular variety of rotifer is one that can form colonies in the shape of a ball whereas the majority of rotifers are individual animals. Each pulsing “suction cup” is the corona of one individual rotifer and the cilia set up the powerful (on a microscopic scale) currents that pull food and other objects towards their bodies.

Rotifers can be found in soil, on moss and plants, in puddles, ponds, even estuaries and marine environments, but the majority are found on land or in fresh water. Rotifers play an important role in most food webs. They can be decomposers or consume algae and other base-of-foodweb type things. They, in turn, get eaten by other invertebrates to provide energy up the food web.

Learn more about rotifers at the Encyclopedia of Life website.

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