GASTROTRICHA, a small group of fairly uniform animals which live among Rotifers and Protozoa at the bottom of ponds and marshes, hiding amongst the recesses of the algae and sphagnum and other fresh-water plants and eating organic debris and Infusoria.
Those that are usually dwelt on are treated with the Rotifers and Nematoda and Turbellaria.
This, however, is not the character to which we now ascribe the chief weight as evidence of the genetic affinity and monophyletic (uni-ancestral) origin of the Chaetopods, Rotifers and Arthropods.
Leeuwenhoek, in 1719, made the remarkable discovery, since abundantly confirmed, that many animalculae, notably tardigrades and rotifers, may be completely desiccated and remain in that condition for long periods without losing the power of awaking to active life when moistened with water.
Later observers have found similar occurrences in the cases of small nematodes, rotifers and bacteria.