Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
Gastrotrich Turbanella species
Gastrotrichs are found in both fresh water and the sea, but Turbanella is a marine genus that lives in the spaces between sand grains in sea-floor sediments. The gastrotrich looks similar to a ciliated protist, but is a true multicellular animal with a mouth, gut, kidney cells, and other structures. It has several adhesive tubes, structures that secrete a sticky substance and help the gastrotrich attach to the substratum. By attaching and detaching the adhesive tubes at the front and rear of its body, it can loop around rather like a leech. Alternatively, the gastrotrich can glide using its cilia, searching for bacteria and protists to eat.