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Definition of ROTIFER
: any of a class (Rotifera of the phylum Aschelminthes) of minute usually microscopic but many-celled chiefly freshwater aquatic invertebrates having the anterior end modified into a retractile disk bearing circles of strong cilia that often give the appearance of rapidly revolving wheels
Any of about 2,000 species of microscopic, multicellular, water-dwelling invertebrates constituting the class Rotifera, or Rotaria (phylum Aschelminthes; seeworm). Currents created by the rotifer's corona (moving cilia arranged in a circle at the head) sweep bacteria, protozoans, and detritus into the mouth. Rotifers also eat larger items (other rotifers, crustaceans, algae). The muscular pharynx contains hard jaws. Body shape varies greatly among species. Rotifers are common in freshwater on all continents, but some live in saltwater. The species vary widely in mode of living: they may be free-living or parasitic, solitary or colonial, and free-swimming, crawling, or sedentary.