Male water fleas observed for first time

Dec 06, 2005

University of Buffalo researchers say they have observed the first male water fleas scientists have ever seen.

The UB scientists say their discovery opens a new window on the biological diversity of several species of water fleas, including those in the genus Daphnia and the genus Bosmina, that play major roles in freshwater food webs.

Water fleas are nearly microscopic organisms with transparent bodies. Found in lakes, ponds and other bodies of fresh water, they are crustaceans, like lobsters, and not insects, as their name suggests.

In stable environments, female water fleas generally reproduce asexually, essentially cloning themselves and resulting in populations of females that are practically impossible to tell apart. Water flea populations grow much faster when they reproduce asexually than when they do so sexually, Derek Taylor, associate professor of biological sciences and co-author of the paper, explained.

He said the practice of rarely producing males has likely existed for 100 million years or more in a large group of freshwater crustaceans.

The study appeared in November's Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Oceanographer Ballard elected to American Academy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ninjabot strikes with force of a mantis shrimp

Feb 28, 2014

Although mantis shrimp have captured the public's fascination with their ability to strike and kill their prey with stunning force, the underlying mechanisms involved in the high-speed strike are not fully ...

Epidemic this year? Check the lake's shape

May 05, 2010

Of all the things that might control the onset of disease epidemics in Michigan lakes, the shape of the lakes' bottoms might seem unlikely. But that is precisely the case, and a new BioScience report by sci ...

Parasites: Rulers of the Reef

Nov 20, 2013

Because "she" spawns every fourth day, I knew she would spawn today. I rolled out of bed at the chime of my reliable Winnie the Pooh alarm clock, slid into my wetsuit, grabbed my underwater flashlight, and ...

Recommended for you

Bloody souvenir not from decapitated French king: DNA

15 hours ago

Two centuries after the French people beheaded King Louis XVI and dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood, DNA analysis has thrown new doubt on the authenticity of one such rag kept as a morbid souvenir.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.