The Small World of Freshwater Gastrotrichs
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  • Body bottle shaped
  • Furka normal
  • Peduncle scales

The genus Aspidiophorus is very easily recognized microscopically by the apparent “double contour” of the body. This double contour is produced by the typical style scales of this genus, which consist of a base plate that sits directly on the cuticle. From this base plate rises a thin peduncle, which carries at its end a - usually larger - un-spined terminal plate:

Typical petiole scales typical scales of an Aspidiophorus, here A. squamulosus.

This results in the typical double outer contour of the animals: Double outer contour


  • Body bottle shaped
  • Furka normal
  • Peduncle scales

23 Species:

Aspidiophorus aster

Aspidiophorus bibulbosus

128 µm - 145 µm
Dorsal scales: 23 rows of 40-42 small peduncle scales (2-3 µm) each; peduncles 0.5 µm; shape of end plates undescribed
Ventral scales: 8-9 rows of small petiole scales; no terminal plates; neck region naked.
Particularities: small, nimble shape

Aspidiophorus brahmsi

Aspidiophorus herterodermus heterodermus

Aspidiophorus heterodermus levantinensis

136 µm - 171 µm
Dorsal scales: rhombic petiole scales (3µm long), 41-42 per row, last row in middle with spines (9-14µm), laterally at base of toes a pair of long spines (16-18µm), sometimes with another pair of spines or elongated scales
Ventral scales: Interciliary field with a pair of terminal spines; very many minute keels
Particularities: Kephalion free standing on the edge

Aspidiophorus lilloensis

Aspidiophorus longichaetus

150 µm
Dorsal scales: 13-14 rows of 24 petiole scales each; long, unkeeled, rhombic terminal plates (6-7µm); posterior 4 terminal plates 10µm, spine-tipped; petiole length 1.2µm; anal region: 3 simple, scaleless spines (18-20µm), protruding from toe; on base of toe, long pair of spines (39µm).
Ventral scales: Ventral intercilliary field naked, 2 terminal scaleless spines (10µm).

Aspidiophorus microlepidotus

250 µm - 300 µm
Dorsal scales: 50 rows of 120 tiny peduncle scales each; 4 short spines at the posterior end
Particularities: highest number of scales in Aspidiophorus; egg diameter 120µm

Aspidiophorus microsquamatus

142 µm - 172 µm
Dorsal scales: 40-45 rows, each with 40-45 minute petiole scales; posterior end naked;
Ventral scales: two large terminal plates, few rows of petiole scales, otherwise naked
Particularities: Head set off by three-part necking

Aspidiophorus nipponensis