name = Bdelloids
image_caption = Scanning electron micrographs showing morphological variation of bdelloid rotifers and their jaws.
classis = Bdelloidea
classis_authority = Hudson, 1884
ordo = Bdelloida
subdivision_ranks = Families
Adinetidae Habrotrochidae Philodinavidae Philodinidae
Bdelloidea (IPAEng|dəˈlɔɪdiə) is a class of
rotifers found in fresh waterand moist soil. Bdelloids typically have a well developed corona, divided into two parts, on a retractable head. They may move by swimming or crawling. The latter commonly involves taking alternate steps with the head and tail, as do certain leeches, which gives the group their name (Greek "βδελλα" or "bdella", meaning leech).
Bdelloids have been of interest to those interested in the evolutionary role of sexual reproduction, because it has disappeared entirely from the group: males are unknown, and females reproduce exclusively by
parthenogenesis. Each individual has paired gonads. Despite the fact that they have been asexual for millions of years, they have diversified into more than 300 species and are fairly similar to other sexually-reproducting rotifer species.
Bdelloids respond to environmental stresses by entering a state of dormancy known as
anhydrobiosis. This dormancy form enables the organism to rapidly dehydrate itself. The Bdelloid will remain in this cysted state until optimal environmental conditions re-occur at which point they will rehydrate and become active within hours. Diapauseis the ability of the organism to produce offspring in a dormant and unhatched state. Hatching of the young will only occur when conditions are at their most favourable. These forms of dormancy are also known as cryptobiosisor quiescence.
Bdelloid rotifers have recently been shown to be extraordinarily resistant to damage from ionizing radiation. The same DNA-preserving adaptations used to survive dormancy are thought to work in this case, and may have also helped the organisms to thrive despite their totally asexual mode of reproduction. [E. Gladyshev and M. Meselson. Extreme resistance of bdelloid rotifers to ionizing radiation. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 10.1073/pnas.0800966105 (published online 3/24/08)]
* [http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/03/the-weird-sisters/ The Weird Sisters]
* [http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20000520/fob6.asp Bdelloids: No sex for over 40 million years]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7039478.stm Eighty million years without sex]
* [http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2007101201 The benefits of 80 million years without sex]
* [http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/1100113.html An Evolutionary Scandal, from Harvard Magazine]
* [http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0050099 Who Needs Sex (or Males) Anyway?]
* [http://news.softpedia.com/news/Organisms-Gave-up-Sexual-Reproduction-for-DNA-Theft-86940.shtml Organisms Gave up Sexual Reproduction for DNA Theft] - Bdelloids able to incorporate foreign DNA
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