The Small World of Freshwater Gastrotrichs
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Aspidiophorus longichaetus

  • Order: CHAETONOTIDA Remane, 1925
    • Suborder: PAUCITUBULATINA d'Hondt, 1971
      • Family: CHAETONOTIDAE Gosse, 1864
        • Subfamily: CHAETONOTINAE Kisielewski, 1991
          • Genus: Aspidiophorus Voigt, 1903
            • Species: longichaetus Kisielewski, 1986
(after (Schwank, 1990))
Length ( bottle ):
150 µm

35 µm

Width of the head ( five-lobed ):
22 µm - 35 µm


Length of the furca:
18 µm - 20 µm

Adhessive tubes (very thin tapered):
50% of furca

Pharyx ( cylindrical ):
36 µm

Diameter of the mouth ( around ):
5 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).

Similar species:
A. ontarionensis : possibly synonym; longer caudal spines.


I have only found this species in the mud of a large pond. The long spines over the toes make this species unmistakable:

If you put the focus a little deeper, you can see the elongated end plates and the two smaller spines at the base of the toes:

In the median section, the scale cross sections can be easily assessed:

In the side view you can see the strong head shield (cephalion):


(Kisielewski, 1986)