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Additions to the Rotatoria of New Zealand. Part 1.

(With corrections to “The Rotatoria of New Zealand with Ecological Notes,” Trans. Royal Soc. N.Z., Vol. 75, Pt. 2, pp. 102–123.)
By C. R. Russell,
108 Knowles Street, Christchurch.

[Read before Canterbury Branch, May 1, 1946; received by the Editor, September 23, 1946.]


Over two years have elapsed since “The Rotatoria of New Zealand with Ecological Notes” (Russell, 1945A) was compiled, and during that period twelve known species of the Rotatoria have been identified in New Zealand for the first time, and two new species found; one of which is described in this paper.

A number of rotifers have also been found which could not positively be identified owing to lack of the necessary literature. The problem of securing descriptions of the more than 1,100 known species of the Rotatoria is one of great difficulty to the worker in this group, and the absence of the Bdelloida and sessile forms from the list is due to this cause rather than any lack of material.

This paper forms Part 1 of “Additions to the Rotatoria of New Zealand,” and it is anticipated that additional parts will be published when the material becomes available. Most of the animals listed were collected from Victoria Lake, Christchurch, in which over 60 species of the Rotatoria have been secured, and which still continues to yield new species. War-time restrictions on motor transport, and the abundance of material available is the reason for the concentration on Victoria Lake.

To save space synonymies have not been included in the list, and in some cases only the short titles have been given in the “Literature Cited.” The synonomies of the Rotatoria are voluminous and may be found in Harring's Synopsis of the Rotatoria, together with the full titles of all references.

New Species.
  • Order Ploima

  • Family Notommatidae

  • Sub-family Lindiinae

  • Genus Lindia Dujardin

Lindia parrotti new species.

The body is elongate, slender, almost cylindrical, and gently tapering to the foot. The greatest width of the body is approximately one-third its length. The integument is usually of a light brown colour, very flexible, and in most cases covered with flocculent matter making the body opaque.

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There is no distinct separation between head and abdomen. The animal has approximately 10 evanescent annulations which do not extend completely round the body, and are generally seen only in the lateral view. The annulations disappear when the body is extended.

The foot is rudimentary and no tail was observed. The toes are short and not sclerified, and may be completely withdrawn within the body; they have not been seen extended much beyond the sheath. The toes bear a strong resemblance to those of L. tecusa (Harring and Myers, 1924, p. 624). The foot glands could be seen only indistinctly.

The corona is weakly oblique, and extends on the ventral side to the semi-circular retractile chin; the ciliation is without auricles, and the mouth is slightly below the centre.

The mastax is of the cardate type, in which pumping is carried out by the whole mastax oscillating as a unit on a transverse axis. The fulcrum (see Fig. 1) is moderately long and narrow and terminates in a circular plate.

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Fig. 1.

The rami are of the usual lyrate form with no denticulation. The unci, viewed ventrally, form the segment of a circle; each uncus appears to have four teeth, three of which are rudimentary, joined together by a plate. Owing, however to the minuteness of the teeth these could not be clearly resolved. The manubria are moderately robust, slightly asymmetrical, curved, and at the junction with the unci are expanded into a shoulder. The approximate over-all measurements are as follows: manubrium, 7–9 μ; uncus, 5 μ; fulcrum, 3 μ.

The gastric glands are small, the oesophagus is moderately short, and the stomach is not separated from the intestine. No epipharynx was observed. The ovary is normal, the bladder is large, and the cloaca opens dorsally at the base of the toes.

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The ganglion is large and saccate with a crimson eyespot at the posterior end. No retrocerebal organ was seen. The dorsal antenna (see Plate 33) consists of a retractile conical protuberance 8 μ high, crowned with setae. No lateral antennae were found.

L. parrotti bears a superficial resemblance to L. tecusa, and like this species has the non-sclerified foot, and no auricles. L. tecusa, however, is 1,000–1,500 μ in length and is the only known Notammatid to be viviparous, whereas L. parrotti has a length of from 80–100 μ, a width of from 27–35 μ, and is oviparous. The new species is annulated similarly to L. truncata (Harring and Myers, 1924, p. 626), only the annulations are very much more developed, as in the case of members of the genus Taprocampa.

The large dorsal antenna and the semi-circular retractile chin, both of which may be clearly seen in Plate 33, are sufficient to distinguish L. parrotti from the 11 known species of the genus, while the presence of the cardate or oscillating mastax clearly indicates that the new species belongs to the genus Lindia.

Lindia parrotti is found in Victoria Lake, Christchurch, at temperatures between 18° and 24° C. and a pH range of 8.5–10. It is common at approximately 20° C., and decreases in numbers with a higher or lower temperature. It is often found carrying an egg 45 μ long and 25 μ in diameter attached to its toes. The animal swims very close to the surface of the water, and for this reason may be overlooked; its movements are slow and deliberate, and it is constantly changing its shape. When viewed laterally, L. parrotti has the appearance of a hammer, and in spite of its small size can easily be identified under a low-power objective.

A type of the species is deposited with the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch.

I have pleasure in naming this species after Mr. A. W. Parrott, biologist, of the Canterbury Museum. Christchurch.

Species Identified for the First Time in New Zealand.

  • Family Notommatidae

  • Sub-family Notommatinae

  • Genus Cephalodella Bory de St. Vincent.

1. Cephalodella ventripes (Dixon-Nuttall).

  • Diaschiza ventripes Dixon-Nuttall. 1901, p. 25.

  • Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

  • Observations. Found at temp. 9.5° C; pH 9.5. Rare. Length of body 110 μ.

2. Cephalodella apocolea Harring and Myers. 1924, p. 509.

  • Locality. Flax swamp near Darfield, Canterbury.

  • Observations. Found at approx 18° C.; pH 8. Length of body 130 μ, max. width 60 μ, toes 50 μ.

  • Family Brachionidae

  • Genus Brachionus Pallas

1. Brachionus urceolaris Muller. 1773, p. 131.

  • Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

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Observations. Found at temp. 9–10° C., pH 8, common. Length 260 μ, max. width 210 μ, anterior median spines 30 μ. Basal plate well developed in most specimens.

2. Brachionus plicatilis Muller. 1786, p. 344.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at 18° C., pH 8, not common. Average measurements: length 181 μ, width 140 μ, anterior median spines 28 μ.

3. Brachionus rubens Ehrenberg. 1838, p. 513.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at 9° C., pH 8, common. Average length of specimens 220 μ, max. width 180 μ, ant. med. spines, 25 μ, intermediate spines 12 μ, lat. 20 μ.

4. Brachionus caudatus Barrois and Daday. 1894, p. 232.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. So far only the form vulgatus has been found, and this occurs throughout the year, being abundant at temperatures from 9–14° C., and pH 8. Specimens of B. angularis are nearly always to be found with this species, and the difference between the two noted by Ahlstrom (1940), p. 156, are not always to be found in the material examined. Specimens of B. caudatus have been examined having a pattern on the lorica similar to that of B. angularis, and with the posterior portion of the lorica almost identical. The material examined suggests a very close relationship between the two species.

Genus Keratella Bory de St. Vincent

1. Keratella valga (Ehrenberg).

Anuraea. valga Ehrenberg. 1834, p. 198.

Locality. Pools in Botanical Gardens, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at 18° C., pH 8, common. Length of lorica 130 μ, max. width 76 μ. Anterior spines: median 35 μ, int. 30 μ, lateral 30–35 μ. Posterior spines: right 60–70 μ, left 0–42 μ. The measurements given are averages. The foundation pattern of the dorsum was normal for the species.

2. Keratella sancta Russell. 1945B.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at temp. 12–23° C. and pH 8.5–10. It is abundant at approximately 20° and a few specimens are found throughout the year. Average measurements are as follows: length of body 135 μ, max. width 95 μ; anterior spines, median 34 μ, intermediate 19 μ, lateral 18 μ; posterior spines 10 μ.

Genus Anuraeopsis Lauterborn

1. Anuraeopsis fissa (Gosse).

Anuraea fissa Gosse. 1851, p. 202.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found 20° C., pH 8.5–9, fairly common. Average length of specimens 100 μ. Many of the animals carried eggs 62 μ long attached by a nipple.

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Lindia parrotti. Photomicrograph shwing lateral view. Animal is carrying an egg.

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  • Family Euchlanidae

  • Genus Euchlanis Ehrenberg

  • Sub-genus Dapidia Gosse.

1. Dapidia calpidia Myers. 1930, p. 371.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at 16° C., pH 7.5–8, rare. Length of dorsal plate 250 μ, max. width 210 μ; toes 90 μ.

Genus Lecane Nitzsch

1. Lecane ludwigii (Eckstein).

Distyla ludwigii Eckstein. 1883, p. 383.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at temp. 15° C. and pH 8, rare. Length of dorsal plate, 120 μ.

Genus Monostyla Ehrenberg

1. Monostyla closterocerca Schmarda. 1859, p. 59.

Locality. Pools in Botanical Gardens and Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at 11–18° C., pH 8, fairly common. Length of dorsal plate 75 μ, max. width 70 μ; toes 27 μ.

Family Filiniidae
Genus Filinia Bory de St. Vincent

1. Filinia cornuta (Weisse).

Triarthra cornuta, Weisse. 1847, p. 110.

Locality. Victoria Lake, Christchurch.

Observations. Found at 20° C., pH 8.5, fairly common. Length or lorica, 60 μ; lateral spines, 25 μ; posterior spine, 15 μ.

Corrections and Alterations to a Reference List of the Rotatoria of New Zealand with Ecological Notes.

(Trans. Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol. 75, Pt. 2, pp. 102123, 1945.)

Page 103. The names of Dr. Robert W. Pennak and Dr. W. T. Edmondson were incorrectly spelt; to these gentlemen I tender my apologies.

Page 105. Genus Diaschiza Gosse. Harring and Myers (1924, p. 464) state that the name Diaschiza Gosse is not tenable under any circumstances, and that this name must be replaced by Cephalodella Bory de St. Vincent.

The six species listed under Diaschiza Gosse on pages 105–6, must now be transferred to the genus Cephalodella Bory de St. Vincent.

Page 105. The genus Proales Gosse is now included in the sub-family Proalinae.

Page 107. Brachionus capsuliflorus Pallas. Harring (1913, p. 19) says of this species, “A multitude of names have been thrown into the synonymy of this species for the simple reason that they do not appear to be entitled to specific rank.”

The three names listed under Brachionus capsuliflorus in the Reference List are not synonymous and must be transferred as follows:—

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Brachionus bakeri Muller 1786 is a synonym for Brachionus quadridentatus Hermann 1783.

Brachionus variabilis Hempel 1896, var. novae zealandiae Morris 1912 has now been raised to specific rank as Brachionus novae zealandiae Morris 1913 (see Ahlstrom, 1940, p. 170).

Brachionus rubens Gosse 1886. The classification of the animal described under this name must remain doubtful until a further examination of the material can be made.


I have to thank Dr. E. H. Ahlstrom, of Stanford University, California, for the examination of material, and Dr. W. T. Edmondston, of Harvard University, for the valuable information he has supplied.

I am much indebted to Dr. R. A. Falla, Director of the Canterbury Museum, and Mr. A. W. Parrott, biologist of the same institution, for the assistance and advice they have given me.

To Mr. G. Stokell, Dr. W. H. Sheffield and Mrs. W. O'Callaghan my thanks are due for sending me material from country districts.

Lastly, I have to thank the staff of the Botanical Gardens, Christchurch, for the assistance they have rendered me when collecting material.

Literature Cited.

Ahlstrom, E. H., 1940. A Revision of the Rotatorian Genera Brachionus and Platyias with descriptions of one new species and two new varieties. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., Vol. 77, Art. 3, pp. 143184.

—— 1943. A Revision of the Rotatorian Genus Keratella with descriptions of three new species and five varieties. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., Vol. 80, Art. 12, pp. 411457.

Barrois, T. C., and Daday, J., 1894. Adatok az Aegyptomi, Palaestinai es Syriai Rotatoriak ismeretehez. Math. Termesz. Ertes. (Budapest), Vol. 12, pp. 222242.

Dixon-Nuttall, F. R., 1901. Jour. Queckett Micr. Club (London), Ser. 2, Vol. 8, pp. 2628.

Eckstein, K., 1883. Zeitschr. Wiss. Zool. (Leipzig), Vol. 39, pp. 343443.

Ehrenberg, C. G., 1834. Organisation in dei Richtung des kleinsten Raumes. Dritter Beitrag. Fol. (Berlin).

—— 1838. Die Infusionsthierchen (Leipzig).

Gosse, P. H., 1851. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Ser. 2, Vol. 8, pp. 200202.

—— 1886. In Hudson and Gosse, The Rotifera, Vol. 2, p. 119.

Harring, H. K., 1913. Synopsis of the Rotatoria. Smithsonian Institute, Bull. 81.

—— and Myers, F. J., 1920. The Rotifer Fauna of Wisconsin, Pt. 1. Wis. Acad. Sci. Arts, Lett., Vol. 20, pp. 553–652.

—— 1924. The Rotifer Fauna of Wisconsin, Pt. 2. Wis. Acad. Sci. Arts, Lett., Vol. 21, pp. 415549.

—— 1930. Rotifer Fauna of Wisconsin. Pt. 5. Wis. Acad. Sci. Arts, Lett., Vol. 25, pp. 353413.

Muller, O. F., 1773. Vermium terrestrium et fluviatilium, seu animalium infusoriorum.

—— 1786. Animacula Infusoria.

Russell, C. R., 1945A. A Reference List of the Rotatoria of New Zealand with Ecological Notes. Trans. Royal Soc. N.Z., Vol. 75, Pt. 2, pp. 102123.

—— 1945B. A New Rotifer from New Zealand. Journ. Royal Micr. Soc. London, Vol. 65.

Schmarda, L. K., 1859. Neue Wirbellose Thiere, etc., 1853–1857, Wien. Rotatorian, pp. 4766.

Weisse, J. F., 1847. Bull. Phys.-Math. Acad. Sci., St. Petersburg, Vol. 6, cols. 110–112.