Friday, December 17, 2010

What is the dorkiest animal on the planet?

Dorks can be described as socially inept people who follow certain obsessions (See blog entry on geeks, nerds, and dorks). Unfortunately, dorks often get bullied in schools.

Scientists described an animal that shows some dorky characteristics. Rotifiers can shapeshift their offspring to hide from bullies (i.e., predators).

Zoologger has reported on the shapeshifting characteristics of Keratella tropica, a rotifer found in Argentina that feeds mostly on algae and is regularly hunted by larger, stronger creatures. Their only defense mechanism is their spines, which may not defend them from some predators. Here’s the dorky part:
Most of the time they reproduce asexually, only having sex every once in a while – although one group, the bdelloid rotifers, have done without sex for 70 million years.
If predators arrive, Keratella quickly finds out that its standard complement of spines is not much of a defence … Instead, the mere presence of a certain predator can make it change the shape of its offspring.
Comare the rotifier's strategy to the tardigrades ("the toughest animals on the planet"): See blog post here.

Read the original post on Geekosystem here: Rotifers Shapeshift to Defend from Predators | Geekosystem

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