Epizoic and parasitic rotifers

  • Linda May
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 52)


Many rotifer species live in close association with plants or other animals. Most of these associations are of a commensal or synoecious nature, some rotifer species having lost the ability to live independently. Few rotifers are true parasites, actually harming their hosts.

The Seisonidae, Monogononta and Bdelloidea include epizoic and parasitic species. The most widely known are probably the parasites of colonial and filamentous algae (e.g. Volvox, Vaucheria). However, rotifers are also found on a wide range of invertebrates: colonial, sessile Protozoa; Porifera; Rotifera; Annelida; Bryozoa; Echinodermata; Mollusca, especially on the shells and egg masses of aquatic gastropods; Crustacea, including the lower forms (e.g. Daphnia, Asellus, Gammarus) and in the gill chambers of Astacus and Chasmagnathus; the aquatic larvae of insects. There appear to be few records of epizoic or parasitic rotifers among vertebrates, apart from Encentrum kozminskii on carp, Limnias ceratophylli on the Amazonian crocodile, Melanosuchus niger, and an unidentified Bdelloid apparently living as a pathogenic rotifer in Man

Key words

epizoic parasitic rotifers 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahlstrom, E. H., 1940. A revision of the Rotatorian genera Brachionus and Platyias with descriptions of one new species and two new varieties. Bull. amer. Mus. nat. Hist. 77: 148–184.Google Scholar
  2. Barnes, R. S. K., 1984. A Synoptic Classification of Living Organisms. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 273 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Bartos, E., 1951. The Czechoslovak Rotifers of the order Bdelloidea. Vestnik. Cs. zool. spol. 15: 241–500.Google Scholar
  4. Beauchamp, P. M. de, 1905. Remarques sur deux Rotifères parasites. Bull. Soc. zool. Fr. 30: 117–124.Google Scholar
  5. Beauchamp, P. de, 1923. Courtes notes sur les Rotifères. Ann. Biol. lac. 12: 221–228.Google Scholar
  6. Berzins, B., 1950. Observations on rotifers on sponges. Trans, am. microsc. Soc. 69: 189–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bilfinger, L., 1894. Zur Rotatorien fauna Württembergs. 2. Beitrag. Jahresh. d. Verf. f. vaterländ. Naturk. Württembergs 50: 35–65.Google Scholar
  8. Boray, J. C., 1964. Studies on the ecology of Lymnaea tomentosa, the intermediate host of Fasciola hepatica. I. History, geographical distribution and environment. Aust. J. Zool. 12: 217–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brain, J. L., 1894. An inhabitant of Vaucheria. Science Gossip 1:201–202.Google Scholar
  10. Bryce, D., 1924. The Rotifera and Gastrotricha of Devil’s and Stump Lakes, North Dakota, U.S.A. J. Quekett microsc. Club, Ser.2, 15:81–108.Google Scholar
  11. Budde, E., 1925. Die parasitischen Rädertiere mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der in der umgegend von minden I.W. beobachteten Arten. Z. Morph. u. Ökol. Tiere 3: 706–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carlin, B., 1939. Über die Rotatorien einiger Seen bei Aneboda. Medd. Lunds Univ. Limnol. Inst. 2: 3–68.Google Scholar
  13. Chandra, M. P. & R. R. Kameswara, 1976. Epizoic rotifers observed on Odonata nymphs from Visakhapatnam. Science Cult. 42: 527–528.Google Scholar
  14. Chengalath, R., C. H. Fernando & W. Koste, 1973. Rotifers from Sri Lanka (Ceylon). II. Further studies on the eurotatoria including new records. Bull. Fish. Res. Stat. Ceylon 24: 29–62.Google Scholar
  15. Christensen, T., 1987. Some collections of Vaucheria (Tribophyceae) from south-eastern Australia. Aust. J. Bot. 35: 617–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Claparède, M., 1868. A new rotifer Balatro calvus. Quart. J. Microsc. Science 8: 170–172.Google Scholar
  17. Cuènot, L., 1892. Commensaux et parasites des Echinodermes. Revue Biol. Nord-France, 5.Google Scholar
  18. Coineau, Y. & M. Kunst, 1964. Une nouvelle espèce de rotifère parasite d’oligochète: Albertia soyeri n.sp. Vie Milieu 15: 1007–1015.Google Scholar
  19. Davis, J. S. & W. F. Gworek, 1973. A rotifer parasitizing Vaucheria in a Florida spring. Trans, am. microsc. Soc. 92: 135–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dujardin, F., 1838. Mémoire sur un ver parasite constituant un nouveau genre voisin des rotifères, sur le tardigrade, et sur les systolides on rotateurs en général. Ann. sci. natur., ser.2, 10, Zool: 175–191.Google Scholar
  21. Edmondson, W. T., 1940. Sessile Rotatoria of Wisconsin. Trans, amer. Microsc. Soc. 59: 433–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Edmondson, W. T. & G. E. Hutchinson, 1934. Report on Rotatoria Yale North India Expedition. Art. IX. Mem. Connecticut Acad. Arts. Sci. 10: 153–186.Google Scholar
  23. Galliford, A. L., 1946. A contribution to the Rotifer fauna of the Liverpool Area. Proc. Liverpool. Natur. Field Club 1945.Google Scholar
  24. Ganf, G. G., R. J. Shiel & C. J. Merrick, 1983. Parasitism: The possible cause of the collapse of a Volvox population in Mount Bold Reservoirs, South Australia. Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res. 34: 489–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Garner, W. E., 1937. Two new species of Rotatoria. J. Quekett Microsc. Club, Series 3, 1.Google Scholar
  26. Giard, A., 1908. Un nouveau rotifère, parasite des pontes de mollusques d’eau dance. Feuiles des jeunes naturalistes 38: 184.Google Scholar
  27. Giesen, J., 1934. An apparent case of a pathogenic rotifer (Order Bdelloidea) in man. J. Parasitol. 20: 133.Google Scholar
  28. Giglioli, H., 1863. On the genus Callidina (Ehr.); with the description and anatomy of a new species. Quart. J. Micr. Science London, New Ser., Vol. 3: 237–242.Google Scholar
  29. Glascott, L. S., 1893. A list of some of the Rotifera of Ireland. Sciproc. Roy. Dublin Soc. B: 29–86.Google Scholar
  30. Gosse, P. H., 1852. On the Notommata parasita Ehrbg., a rotiferous animal inhabiting the spheres of Volvox globator. Trans, microsc. Soc. London 3:Google Scholar
  31. Halbach, U., 1973. Quantitative studies of rotifer associations in ponds. Arch. Hydrobiol. 71: 233–254.Google Scholar
  32. Harring, H. K., 1913. Synopsis of the Rotatoria. Bull., U.S. Nat. Mus., Washington, 81: 7–226.Google Scholar
  33. Harring, H. K. & F. J. Myers, 1922. The rotifer Fauna of Wisconsin. Trans. Wis. Acad. Sci. Arts Lett. 20: 553–662.Google Scholar
  34. Hassan, A. A., A. M. S. El-Ridi & L. A. A. Magd, 1985. An approach to biological control of snails by rotifers. J. Egypt. Soc. Parasitol. 15: 553–558.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Hempel, A., 1896. Description of new species of Rotifers and Protozoa from the Illinois River and adjacent waters. Bull. Illinois State Lab. Nat. Hist. 4: 310–317.Google Scholar
  36. Hlava, S., 1905. Über eine neue Rädertierart aus der Gattung Albertia. Zool. Anz. 28: 365–368.Google Scholar
  37. Hofsten, von N., 1909. Rotatorien aus den Mästermyr (Gottland) und einigen andern Schwedischen Binnengewässern. Ark. Zool. 6, 125 pp.Google Scholar
  38. Hollowday, E. D., 1949. Introduction to the study of the Rotifera — IX Proales daphnicola Thompson: with reference to commensal and parasitic habits. The Microscope 6:1–7.Google Scholar
  39. Hood, J., 1895. On the Rotifera of the County Mayo. Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., ser. 3: 664–706.Google Scholar
  40. Hudson, C. T. & P. H. Gosse, 1886. The Rotifera or Wheel-Animalcules, both British and Foreign. Longmans, London. I: I–VI & 1–128; II: 1–144.Google Scholar
  41. Jennings, H. S., 1894. A list of the Rotatoria of the Great Lakes and some of the inland lakes of Michigan. Bull. Michigan Fish. Comm., Landsing 3: 1–34.Google Scholar
  42. Koste, W., 1968. Über Proales sigmoidea (Skorikow) 1896 (eine für Mitteleuropa neue Rotatorienart) und Proales daphnicola (Thompson) 1892. Arch. Hydrobiol. 65: 240–245.Google Scholar
  43. Koste, W., 1969. Parasitic Rotifera Albertia naidis. Mikrokos-mos 58: 212–216.Google Scholar
  44. Koste, W., 1970. Über eine parasitische Rotatorienart Albertia reichelti nov. spec. Zool. Anz. 184: 428–434.Google Scholar
  45. Koste, W., 1972. Portrait of Rotifera a rare external parasite on freshwater Oligochaeta Cephalodella parasitica. Mikrokosmos 61: 10–12.Google Scholar
  46. Koste, W., 1975. Seison annulatus, ein Ektoparasit des marinen Krebses Nebalia. Mikrokosmos 64: 341–347.Google Scholar
  47. Koste, W., 1978. Rotatoria. Borntraeger, Berlin, 2 vol.: 673 pp., 234 plates.Google Scholar
  48. Kutikova, L. A., 1970. Rädertierfauna der USSR. Fauna USSR, 104, Akad. Nauk. SSSR, Leningrad: 1–744 (In Russian).Google Scholar
  49. Lankester, E. R., 1868. Note on the Synapte of Guernsey and a new parasitic rotifer. Quart. J. microsc. science 8: 53–55.Google Scholar
  50. Levander, K. M., 1894. Materialien zur Kenntnis der Wasserfauna in der Umgebung von Helsingfors. Acta. soc. fauna et flora fennica. Helsingfors 12: 1–72.Google Scholar
  51. Lister, 1884. On the parasitism of rotifers in cysts on Vaucheria. Proc. Essex Nat. Field Club 3: 45–48.Google Scholar
  52. Magnusson, W. E., 1985. Habitat selection parasites and injuries in Amazonian Crocodilians. Amazoniana 9: 193–204.Google Scholar
  53. Mané-Garzon, F. & R. Montero, 1973. A new species of Rotifers Bdelloidea Anomopus chasmagnathi (n.sp.) from the branchial chamber of the tidal crab Chasmagnathus granulata Decapoda Brachyura. Rev. Biol. Urug. 1: 139–144.Google Scholar
  54. Milne, E. 1888. Rotifer as a parasite or tube dweller. Proc. Phil. Soc. Glasgow 20: 48–53.Google Scholar
  55. Murray, J., 1906. The Rotifera of Scottish Lochs. Trans, r. Soc. Edinb. 45: 151–193.Google Scholar
  56. Myers, F. J., 1934. The distribution of Rotifers on Mount Desert Island. VII. Amer. Mus. Mov. 761: 1–8.Google Scholar
  57. Nekrassow, A. D., 1928. Vergleichende morphologie der Laiche von süsswasser gastropoden. Z. Morph. Okol. Tiere 12: 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ott, D. W., 1977. Ultrastructural observations of parasitism of Vaucheria prona by Poales werneckii. J. Phycol. 13 (suppl).Google Scholar
  59. Pawlowski, L. K., 1935. Beiträge zur Anatomie und Biologie von Drilophaga delagei de Beauchamp. Arch. Hydrobiol. Rybactwa, Suwalki 9: 1–30.Google Scholar
  60. Penard, E., 1914. A propos de Rotifères. Rev. Suisse 22: 1–25.Google Scholar
  61. Piovanelli, S., 1903. Two new Bdelloidea commensal in the branchial cavity of Telphusa fluviatilis. J. Quekett Microsc. Club 8: 521–522.Google Scholar
  62. Pittock, G. M., 1894. Rotifer-hunting in Minster Marshes, Thanet. Science Gossip 1: 173–175.Google Scholar
  63. Plate, L. H., 1886. Untersuchungen einiger an der Kiemenblättern des Gammarus pulex lebenden Ektoparasiten. Z. wiss. Zool. 43: 175–241.Google Scholar
  64. Plate, L. H., 1888. On some ectoparasitic Rotatoria of the Bay of Naples. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist, London, ser. 6, 2: 86–112.Google Scholar
  65. Rees, B., 1960. Alberila vermisculus (Rotifer) parasitic in the earthworm Allolobophora caliginosa. Parasitol. 50: 61–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rich, F. & M. A. Pocock 1933. Observations on the genus Volvox in Africa. Ann. s. afr. Mus. 16: 427–471.Google Scholar
  67. Rousselet, C. F., 1898. Notes on some little-known species of Pterodina. J. Quekett microsc. Club, Ser. 2, 7: 24–30.Google Scholar
  68. Rousselet, C. F., 1911. Rotifera (excluding Bdelloidea). Proc. Royal Irish Acad. 31, No. 51, 10 pp.Google Scholar
  69. Rousselet, C. F., 1914. Intelligence in parasitic rotifers. Knowledge 37: 191, 270–273.Google Scholar
  70. Sauer, F., 1978. A rotifera as parasite in Volvox. Mikrokosmos 67: 110–111.Google Scholar
  71. Scherren, H., 1897. Rotifers commensal with Caddis worms. Nature 56: 224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Schlüter, M., 1984. Kontinuierliche Massenkultur des planktischen Rotators Brachionus rubens. Ber. Kernforschungsanlage Mich 1959, 195 pp.Google Scholar
  73. Sebestyen, O., 1937. Investigations on an epizoic Collotheca (Rotifera). Ann. Inst. biol. Tihany 24: 183–192.Google Scholar
  74. Sharma, B. K., 1979. On some epizoic rotifers from West Bengal. Bull. zool. Surv. India 2: 109–110.Google Scholar
  75. Stevens, J., 1907. The Rotifera of the Exeter district. Proc. Coll. Field Club and Nat. Hist. Soc, Exeter, 1907: 30–52.Google Scholar
  76. Stevens, J., 1912. Notes on Proales (Notommata) gigantea Glascott, a rotifer parasitic in the egg of the water-snail. J. Quekett. microsc. Club, Ser. 2, 11: 481–486.Google Scholar
  77. Stirewalt, M. & F. A. Lewis, 1980. Schistosoma mansoni: Effects of rotifers on cercarial output, mortality and infectivity. Int. J. Parasitol., 11: 301–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Thane-Fenchel, A., 1966. Proales paguri sp. nov., a rotifer living on the gills of the hermit crab, Pagurus bernhardus. Ophelia 3: 93–97.Google Scholar
  79. Thompson, P. G., 1892. Notes on the parasitic tendency of rotifers of the genus Proales, with an account of a new species. Science Gossip 28: 219–221.Google Scholar
  80. Varga, L., 1931. Beiträge zur Rotatorienfauna Südschwedens. Zool. Anz. 96: 285–292.Google Scholar
  81. Vejdovsky, F., 1883. Über Drilophaga bucephalus, ein parasitisches Rädertier Sitz. — Ber. K. Böhm. Ges. Wiss. Prag. (1882): 390–397.Google Scholar
  82. Viaud, G., 1947. Recherches expérimentales sur les tropismes des Rotifères. L’oscillorhéotropisme des Brachionus rubens Ehrenberg, cause de la fixation de ce Rotifère phorétique sur les Daphnies et autres crustacés d’eau douce. Ann. Sci. nat. Zool. 9: 39–62.Google Scholar
  83. Williams, J., 1852. On the occurrence of parasitic Rotifera in Volvox globator. Trans, microsc. Soc. London, 3: 129–131.Google Scholar
  84. Wiszniewski, J., 1946. Sur un rotifère, parasite des carpes. Zool. poi. 4: 7–10.Google Scholar
  85. Wollny, R., 1879. Parasitism of Notommata on Vaucheria. J. r. microsc. Soc. 2: 291.Google Scholar
  86. Wulfert, K., 1957. Ein neues Rädertiere aus der Kiemenhöhle von Cambarus affinis. Zool. Anz. 158: 26–30.Google Scholar
  87. Wulfert, K., 1960. Die Rädertiere Saurer Gewässer der Dubener Heide. II Die Rotatorien des Krebsscherentümpels Bei Winkelmühle. Arch. Hydrobiol. 56: 311–333.Google Scholar
  88. Zelinka, C., 1888. Studien über Rädertiere. II. Raumparasitismus und Anatomie von Discopus synaptae. Z. f. wiss. Zool. 47.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda May
    • 1
  1. 1.Edinburgh Research Station,Edinburgh Research Station Bush EstateInstitute of Freshwater EcologyPenicuik, MidlothianScotland, UK

Personalised recommendations