Jennings, J. B. Department of Pure and Applied Zoology, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
Mark Welch, David B. Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:August 2020
- Feeding and locomotion
- Reproduction and development
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A phylum of microscopic, mainly free-living aquatic animals, characterized primarily by an anterior ciliary apparatus, the corona. When the cilia of the corona are in motion, the animals appear to have a pair of rapidly rotating wheels on their heads—thus the name “Rotifera,” which is Latin for “wheel bearers.” Rotifers were first observed by Anton Leeuwenhoek more than 300 years ago; because they are easy to find and of a convenient size for observation with a simple microscope, they have been avidly studied by amateur naturalists ever since.
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