Bosmina longirostris

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Geographic Range

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)

Habitat

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)

  • Aquatic Biomes
  • lakes and ponds

Physical Description

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)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • sexes shaped differently
  • Range length
    0.4 to 0.6 mm
    0.02 to 0.02 in

Development

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)

Reproduction

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)

  • Breeding interval
    Once they are mature (3 to 5 days after birth), they can breed up to 4 times throughout their 20 days or so of life span.
  • Breeding season
    highest from May to June and August to September
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 11
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    3.14 to 5.83 days

Female B. longirostris carry the eggs (up to two eggs) in their brood pouch until the eggs hatch and become free living and independent. (Urabe, 1991)

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

Bosmina longirostris generally live little more than 20 days; however, when food is scarce, they may live up to only 10 days. (Hanazato and Yasuno, 1987)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    10 (low) days
  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    20 days

Behavior

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)

Communication and Perception

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)

Food Habits

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)

  • Other Foods
  • microbes

Predation

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)

Ecosystem Roles

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)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

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)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Too many B. longirostris concentrated in one area can reduce the oxygen level in the water, which can have a negative impact on fishes. (Miller, 2000)

Conservation Status

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.

Contributors

Andy Lee (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Alison Gould (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, George Hammond (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.

Glossary

Ethiopian

living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map

Nearctic

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.

World Map

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

Palearctic

living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map

asexual

reproduction that is not sexual; that is, reproduction that does not include recombining the genotypes of two parents

bilateral symmetry

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.

bog

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.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

ectothermic

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

filter-feeding

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.

freshwater

mainly lives in water that is not salty.

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

intertidal or littoral

the area of shoreline influenced mainly by the tides, between the highest and lowest reaches of the tide. An aquatic habitat.

iteroparous

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).

marsh

marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

natatorial

specialized for swimming

oviparous

reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

parthenogenic

development takes place in an unfertilized egg

phytoplankton

photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae. (Compare to zooplankton.)

planktivore

an animal that mainly eats plankton

polygynandrous

the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

swamp

a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.

temperate

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).

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

visual

uses sight to communicate

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year

References

Acharya, K., J. Jack, P. Bukaveckas. 2005. Dietary effects on life history traits of riverine Bosmina. Freshwater Biology, 50: 965-975.

Anestis, M. 2006. AP Biology. New York City, NY: McGrawHill.

Balcer, M., N. Korda, S. Dodson. 1984. Zooplankton of the Great Lakes: A Guide to the Identification and Ecology of the Comon Crustacean Species. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Pres..

Bothar, A. 1986. POPULATION-DYNAMICS AND ESTIMATION OF PRODUCTION IN BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS (MULLER,O.F.) IN THE RIVER DANUBE (DANUBIALIA HUNGARICA, CVIII). Hydrobiologia, 140/2: 97-104.

Bothar, A. 1987. THE ESTIMATION OF PRODUCTION AND MORTALITY OF BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS (MULLER,O.F.) IN THE RIVER DANUBE (DANUBIALIA HUNGARICA, CIX). Hydrobiologia, 145: 285-291.

Branstrator, D., J. Lehman. 1991. INVERTEBRATE PREDATION IN LAKE-MICHIGAN - REGULATION OF BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS BY LEPTODORA-KINDTII. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, 36/3: 483-495. Accessed February 03, 2012 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/2837513.

De Melo, R., P. Hebert. 1994. A TAXONOMIC REEVALUATION OF NORTH-AMERICAN BOSMINIDAE. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY-REVUE CANADIENNE DE ZOOLOGIE, 72/10: 1808-1825.

DeMott, W., C. Kerfoot. 1982. Competition Among Cladocerans: Nature of the Interaction Between Bosmina and Daphnia. Ecology, 63/6: 1949-1966.

Ertan, O., Z. Guclu, O. Erdogan, S. Savas, I. Gulle. 2011. Population Growth of Bosmina longirostris Fed Chlorella vulgaris and Scenedesmus subspicatus in Different Densities. ISRAELI JOURNAL OF AQUACULTURE-BAMIDGEH, 63: 1-7.

Genung, A. 2012. "Zooplankton of the Great Lakes" (On-line). Central Michigan University. Accessed March 25, 2012 at http://www.cst.cmich.edu/users/mcnau1as/zooplankton%20web/bosmina/bosmina.html.

Hanazato, T., M. Yasuno. 1987. EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES ON COMPETITION BETWEEN BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS AND BOSMINA-FATALIS. Hydrobiologia, 154: 189-199.

Jakobsen, P., G. Johnsen. 1988. THE INFLUENCE OF FOOD LIMITATION ON SWARMING BEHAVIOR IN THE WATERFLEA BOSMINA-LONGISPINA. Anim. Behav., 36: 991-995.

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Kotov, A., S. Ishida, D. Taylor. 2009. Revision of the genus Bosmina Baird, 1845 (Cladocera: Bosminidae), based on evidence from male morphological characters and molecular phylogenies. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 156/1: 1-51.

Larsson, P., S. Dodson. 1993. INVITED REVIEW - CHEMICAL COMMUNICATION IN PLANKTONIC ANIMALS. Archiv Fur Hydrobiologie, 129/2: 129-155.

Little, T., R. Demelo, D. Taylor, P. Hebert. 1997. Genetic Characterization of an Arctic Zooplankter: Insights into Geographic Polyploidy. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 264/1386: 1363-1370.

Lord, H., R. Lagergren, J. Svensson, N. Lundgvist. 2006. Sexual dimorphism in Bosmina: The role of morphology, drag, and swimming. Ecology, 87/3: 788-795.

McCoole, M., K. Baer, A. Christie. 2011. Histaminergic signaling in the central nervous system of Daphnia and a role for it in the control of phototactic behavior. Journal of Experimental Biology, 214/10: 1773-1782.

Miller, C. 2000. "Daphnia pulex" (On-line). Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 25, 2012 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Daphnia_pulex.html.

Per, J., J. Geir. 1988. THE INFLUENCE OF FOOD LIMITATION ON SWARMING BEHAVIOR IN THE WATERFLEA BOSMINA-LONGISPINA. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 36: 991-995.

Sakamoto, M., K. Chang, T. Hanazato. 2007. Plastic phenotypes of antennule shape in Bosmina longirostris controlled by physical stimuli from predators. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, 52/5: 2072-2078.

Sakamoto, M., T. Hanazato. 2009. Proximate factors controlling the morphologic plasticity of Bosmina: linking artificial laboratory treatments and natural conditions. HYDROBIOLOGIA, 617: 171-179.

Sakamoto, M., T. Hanzato. 2008. Antennule shape and body size of Bosmina: key factors determining its vulnerability of predacious Copepoda. LIMNOLOGY, 9/1: 27-34.

Shaharudin, R., T. Saisho. 2011. Cyclomorphism in Bosmina longirostris (Crustacea:Cladocera) from Lake Ikeda, Japan. SAINS MALAYSIANA, 40/6: 543-547.

Tanera, M., J. Carletona, M. Wellmana. 2011. Integrated model projections of climate change impacts on a North American lake. ECOLOGICAL MODELLING, 222/18: 3380-3393.

Threlkeld, S. 1981. THE RECOLONIZATION OF LAKE TAHOE BY BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS - EVALUATING THE IMPORTANCE OF REDUCED MYSIS-RELICTA POPULATION. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, 26/3: 433-444.

Urabe, J. 1991. EFFECT OF FOOD CONCENTRATION ON GROWTH, REPRODUCTION AND SURVIVORSHIP OF BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS (CLADOCERA) - AN EXPERIMENTAL-STUDY. Freshwater Biology, 25/1: 1-8.

Von Ende, C., D. Dempsey. 1981. APPARENT EXCLUSION OF THE CLADOCERAN BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS BY INVERTEBRATE PREDATOR CHAOBORUS-AMERICANUS. AMERICAN MIDLAND NATURALIST, 105/2: 240-248.

Zaret, R., C. Kerfoot. 1980. SHAPE AND SWIMMING TECHNIQUE OF BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, 25/1: 126-133.

Zaret, T., C. Kerfoot. 1975. FISH PREDATION ON BOSMINA-LONGIROSTRIS - BODY-SIZE SELECTION VERSUS VISIBILITY SELECTION. ECOLOGY, 56/1: 232-237.