image EL_L3_69_Fig
Image number: RS.15804
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Observations of rotifers


4 November 1704


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 157mm
width (page): 140mm



Five figures in a letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society.

Fig. 1: a rotifer, a tiny micro-organism that can be found on the roots of duckweed. In this drawing ABG is the little tube with which the organism attaches itself to the roots, and CDEF depicts a disc that rotates.
Fig. 2: the two wheels seen from the other side.
Fig. 3: another rotifer, where its little tube consisted of round bubbles, which had never been observed before by Leeuwenhoek.
Fig. 4: the toothed wheels of fig. 3.
Fig. 5: another similar animalcule found in the gutter water.

Object history

The Journal Book mentions on 6 December 1704, 'A Letter was Read from Mr Leeuwenhoeck concerning several Animalculae. Observed in Water. He was Order'd to be thanked' (JBO/11/59).

Printed as A. Leeuwenhoek, ‘Animalcula on the Roots of Duck-Weed’, Phil. Trans. vol. 24, no. 295 (January 1705), pp. 1784-93, figs 1-5.

Related Fellows

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist

Associated place

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