Backyard Bird Bath Cleanup

My backyard bird bath is not usually the place where I look for interesting critters, as it fills automatically every day with chlorinated tap water, has no plants, and is a generally less-than-hospitable place for pond life.  However, a sample during cleanout of its green and unlovely, algae-coated interior revealed this video of a bedelloid rotifer chowing down on a typical rotifer diet, namely, almost anything that comes along, be it green, dead, or wriggly:

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Backyard Bird Bath Cleanup

Somenos Lake: Hydrodictyon Reticulatum

 

HYDRODICTON RETICULATUM 02  HYDRODICTYON RETICULATUM 03HYDRODICTYON POLARIZED LIGHTThis pretty alga, commonly known as “Water Net” has a worldwide distribution.  This particular specimen came from the Somenos boat ramp, though it is found in other sites locally.  It has apparently been introduced into New Zealand, where it has become something of a nuisance, though its numbers have recently been dropping for uncertain reasons (see Wells et al.).  Its cell wall is quite pretty under polarized light.

One can see from the first image that it is quite a bit bigger than Spirogyra, which, despite its beautiful microscopic appearance, looks like an unattractive, slimy mass grossly. The net-shaped growth pattern of Hydrodictyon can be seen clearly with the naked eye. It is fairly readily found in lake margins locally, especially Somenos Lake.

Somenos Lake: Hydrodictyon Reticulatum