, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 117–127 | Cite as

Ecology of bdelloids: how to be successful

  • Claudia N. Ricci
Part Two: Bdelloids


Bdelloids inhabit many different environments. The entire taxon is an order belonging to the phylum Rotifera. In spite of its wide distribution, it has a very uniform morphology, suggesting that natural selection has had almost no effect on its morphological characteristics.

This paper reviews the geographical and ecological distributions of bdelloids and their ability to tolerate different conditions is discussed. Two characteristics account for the wide distribution of bdelloids, parthenogenetic reproduction and their ability to withstand unfavorable conditions through anhydrobiosis. The former is an apomictic thelytoky which may ensure genetic homogeneity within clones. However, evidence which suggests variability among and within parthenogenetic clones is discussed. Some recent experimental evidence indicates that anhydrobiosis does not affect the life history of the surviving individuals. The effects of anhydrobiosis on bdelloid populations are considered.


bdelloids rotifers biogeography ecology parthenogenesis anhydrobiosis 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia N. Ricci
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia, Sez. EcologiaMilanoItaly

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