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I was examining some rainwater from my backyard in Richmond, VA, and found this microorganism. I took some pictures of it at 400x and 1000x (see below). The microorganism is attached to some moss and appears to be using it as an anchor while hunting/feeding. While feeding, it stretches out and searches for food, and once it catches something, it snaps back into itself. I also got some pictures of the microorganism while resting.

Image 1 - feeding Image 2 - feeding Image 3 - resting

I'm not sure what this is and would appreciate any input. Thanks!

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They seem to be rotifers, the fuzzy (supposedly rotating) mouthparts are part of what convinces me. The behavior you mentioned of latching on the moss with their 'tails' is also a characteristic behavior of rotifers. They are also able to retract their bodies just as you mentioned.

Here are some images of rotifers that might support the argument.

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I am least certain about the last image but I am making the assumption for now that it is either some variety of circular/retracted rotifer or a completely different kind of microorganism.

Stay curios!

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    $\begingroup$ by a moment I thought you were Joe Hanson. LOL $\endgroup$ – Negarrak Aug 19 at 22:23

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