Bosmina longirostris is one of the 620 species that are commonly called water fleas. Bosmina longirostris is found in freshwater lakes and ponds throughout the world in temperate and tropical climates including Nearctic, Palearctic, Neotropical and Ethiopian regions. These regions include parts of Africa, Europe and the United States. (Genung, 2012; Threlkeld, 1981; Zaret and Kerfoot, 1975)
Bosmina longirostris are commonly found in ponds and lakes. They are also found in the littoral zones of temperate and tropical bog lakes. (De Melo and Hebert, 1994; Threlkeld, 1981; Zaret and Kerfoot, 1975; Zaret and Kerfoot, 1980)
Close relatives of B. longirostris can live in waters with weak currents, and are often found near the surface of the water, where the concentration of algae, their food source, is highest. (Miller, 2000)
These animals are called water fleas because their physical appearance and movements resemble those of land fleas. This common name also applies to 620 different species. The members of B. longirostris are sexually dimorphic; females have large antennules that curve back over the head which are absent in males. Females range in size from 0.4 to 0.6 mm long, while males range from 0.4 to 0.5 mm long. Both sexes have a mucro, a sharp point attached on their head which varies in length by location. The function of mucro in B. longirostris is unknown. However, the mucro serves to distinguish B. longirostris from their very close relative, Eubosmina sp., which lack this structure. They also have a carapace, which looks like a folded shell that covers the animal and opens on both the ventral and posterior sides. The length of both mucro and carapace vary in season, decreasing in the summer due to increased predation risk with size. (DeMott and Kerfoot, 1982; Miller, 2000; Shaharudin and Saisho, 2011; Urabe, 1991; Zaret and Kerfoot, 1980)
Water fleas are ectothermic. (Anestis, 2006)
Immediately after hatching, body length is approximately 0.21 mm. When food is scarce, B. longirostris stop growing after maturation and use all of their energy for reproduction. If food concentration is high, they will continue to grow after sexual maturation. Reaching maturation takes between 3.14 to 5.83 days from birth. The length of the carapace grows from their birth to 20 days; however their rate of growth decreases with age. (Miller, 2000; Zaret and Kerfoot, 1980)
When females lay eggs, they hatch to become juveniles. They are considered adults once they are larger than the smallest egg carrying female. (Jankowski, 2004)
There are three different types of mating systems that B. longirostris use to reproduce: Sexual reproduction, cyclical parthenogenesis and obligate parthenogenesis. Bosmina longirostris are polygynandrous, so both males and females have multiple mates. (Little, et al., 1997; Miller, 2000; Zaret and Kerfoot, 1980)
Reproduction of B. longirostris is highly dependent on the environment. When B. longirostris go through parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction, they produce the same gender that of the parent, however there is little information available about parthenogenesis of B. longirostris. Studies of Bosmina in temperate regions have shown they reproduce by using facultative parthenogenesis, allowing them to reproduce sexually or by parthenogenesis; wheras other Bosmina sp. in arctic lakes reproduce using obligate parthenogenesis, meaning they can only reproduce asexually. Bosmina longirostris breed throughout the year but are more active from May to June and August to September when algae grows more rapidly. Their reproductive rates are dependent upon how much food is available. (Bothar, 1986; Hanazato and Yasuno, 1987; Little, et al., 1997; Urabe, 1991)
Female B. longirostris are known as sexually mature when they first have eggs in their brood pouch. This species matures faster if more food is available. Varying food concentrations can also cause differences in the number of eggs produced; if more food is available, they produce more eggs (up to four eggs at a time). During their life span, females typically lay anywhere from 1 to 11 eggs. (Branstrator and Lehman, 1991; Hanazato and Yasuno, 1987; Jankowski, 2004; Urabe, 1991)
The behavior of B. longirostris is primarily driven by the presence of food. Their population density increases at a faster rate when more food is available, and they tend to aggregate in areas where food and light are abundant. Studies of close relatives of B. longirostris indicate that they are able to swim horizontally by stroking their appendages. Males swim faster than females due to less dragging resistance. Females have higher resistance due to their bigger body size and large antennules. (Hanazato and Yasuno, 1987; Lord, et al., 2006; Urabe, 1991)
There is little information available on the communication and perception of B. longirostris; however, its closely related species, Daphnia sp. communicate using chemical signals, and have one black compound eye that detects light. (Larsson and Dodson, 1993; McCoole, et al., 2011)
Bosmina longirostris are mainly filter feeders. They eat protozoa, diatoms, and other alge ranging in size from 10 to 15 µm. They prey on Cyclotella, Microcystis, and Chlorella. Filter-feeding is achieved by five pairs of thoracic limbs that are developed for grasping food particles. Large particles can be grasped by the first three thoracic limbs, while the fourth and fifth pairs filter small particles. The first two pairs of thoracic limbs can be used to push the food inside the food groove, while the third to fifth pairs act as filter. In this filter mechanism, small food particles are collected and pushed into the food groove. The feeding system of Bosmina sp. is more efficient in low food densities. The filter structure of other members of the genus Bosmina. is known to be poorly developed, and they are generally less efficient filter feeders than Daphnia sp. They are generally not selective feeders; however, when they have to compete with Daphnia species they switch their preferences. (Branstrator and Lehman, 1991; DeMott and Kerfoot, 1982; Hanazato and Yasuno, 1987)
Bosmina longirostris is preyed upon many different invertebrate predators, such as Chaoborus, cyclopoid copepods, Mysis relicta, Leptodora kindtii, Epischura lacustris, Limnocalanus macrurus, and Senecella calanoides. They are also an important primary food source for planktivorous fish, including young whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis).
During daylight these animals sometimes form dense aggregations, as many as 9000 individuals per liter of water. These groups often significantly reduce the food supply in their location but stay together anyway until night. Because they only group together in daylight, and do so even when this reduces food availability, it is believed that this behavior is predator avoidance, possibly a "Selfish Herd" phenomenon. (Branstrator and Lehman, 1991; Jakobsen and Johnsen, 1988)
Bosmina longirostris compete with closely related species for food. They are algivores, and serve as first consumers. Also, along with other zooplankton, B. longirostris are preyed upon by fishes. They are important zooplankton species linking bacteria and algae to higher trophic levels. (Acharya, et al., 2005; Branstrator and Lehman, 1991)
There is no direct positive importance for humans. However, B. longirostris play important role in the food web as they are a good source of food for many aquatic organisms. Also, because they filter-feed on algae, they can improve water clarity. (Acharya, et al., 2005)
Bosmina longirostris are known to thrive in ponds and lakes. They are not considered to require conservation efforts, and have not been evaluated by the IUCN Red List program.
Andy Lee (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Alison Gould (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, George Hammond (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
reproduction that is not sexual; that is, reproduction that does not include recombining the genotypes of two parents
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
a wetland area rich in accumulated plant material and with acidic soils surrounding a body of open water. Bogs have a flora dominated by sedges, heaths, and sphagnum.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
a method of feeding where small food particles are filtered from the surrounding water by various mechanisms. Used mainly by aquatic invertebrates, especially plankton, but also by baleen whales.
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
the area of shoreline influenced mainly by the tides, between the highest and lowest reaches of the tide. An aquatic habitat.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
development takes place in an unfertilized egg
photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae. (Compare to zooplankton.)
an animal that mainly eats plankton
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
breeding takes place throughout the year
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