Significance to humans

The importance of gastrotrichs remains undetermined. As bacteriovores and detritrovores, gastrotrichs may contribute to the aesthetics of coastal beaches by consuming washed-up debris, preventing its decay and associated odor. The study of gastrotrichs also may be used to augment our knowledge of animal origins, evolution, and relationships. Lepidodermella squamata is a commercially available freshwater gastrotrich.

1. Dactylopodola baltica; 2. Lepidodermella squamata. (Illustration by John Megahan)

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