Water-flea anatomy - by Wim van Egmond, The Netherlands
This is a mouse-over image of Daphnia longispina, a common water-flea. Use the underlying image to examine its main anatomical features!
brightfield version
of Daphnia
head and eyes
ovary and embryos
frontal view
Water-fleas are easy to find. Most ponds will provide enough of these small crustaceans. They are ideal subjects for study under the microscope. You can examine them swimming under a low power stereo-microscope. When observed with stronger magnification it is best to use a deep slide. You can add dots of vaseline to the corners of the coverslip to prevent the water-flea being damaged. It is wonderful to see the heart beating and the blood flowing!

The body of a water flea is protected by a shell-like carapace. This looks like two valves but consists of one piece. It covers the five pairs of leaf-like legs. These are used to filter food but also bear gills. At the end of the body (abdomen) we find the post abdomen with a paired claw (furca). It is used to remove unwanted particles between the carapace.

Find about more about them in the Micscape article Water fleas

All comments to the author Wim van Egmond are welcomed.

Visit Wims home page for links to his many web pages on microscopy

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Published in the January 2002 edition of Micscape Magazine.

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