bdelloid rotifers

Real Super Powers: Rogue, X-Men

This is a Bdelloid rotifer, it is a small asexual organism that first evolved around 80 million years ago. What is amazing about this organism is that it is amazingly adaptable, even though it is asexual.

This is because as they rehydrate and repair whatever damage their cells incurred, they incorporate DNA fragments from their environment. This includes partially digested food and any DNA in close proximity to them, even bacterial and archael DNA. It is this ability that allows bdelloid rotifers to overcome the limitations of asexual reproduction and survive for 80 million years without mates. They can literally absorb the attributes of those around them.

Bdelloid Rotifers!

These little invertebrates are the only species known on earth to have reproduced completely asexually for an extended period of time without going extinct (80 million years and counting)! Their rotating “corona” is a feeding apparatus as well as a mode of transportation. These two were anchored by the foot (all the better for filming them), but others were free-swimming.

Filmed during Invertebrate Zoology Lab.

iPhone 4.