Rotifera are microscopically small animals with a length of 0.04 to 2.5 mm. The head bears the corona, which might be separated into two parts, called trochal discs. In living animals, such as in Macrotrachela quadricornifera, the trochal discs with their beating cilia resemble rotating wheels, which is why these animals are called 'rotifers' or 'wheel animalcules'. An introduction to rotifers is provided by Nogrady et al. (1993).
Rotifers typically inhabit freshwater environments including phytotelmata. Picado (1913) mentioned Lecane (Monostyla) sp. to occur in Costa Rican bromeliads. Later, Torales et al. (1972) found Rotaria rotatoria in Argentina. However, a more detailed survey of rotifers in phytotelmata was performed by Koste and co-workers in Jamaica (Janetzky et al. 1995, Koste et al. 1991, 1993). As results, they gave evidence of 41 species inhabiting bromeliads, belonging to 12 different genera out of 7 families (Table). Among the species found, the genus Lecane was represented by 14 species, followed by the genus Lepadella with 5 species. This finding fits into the general pattern found for freshwater rotifers of Jamaica: Janetzky et al. (1995) calculated that 25% of the 211 rotifer species known to occur in Jamaica belong to the genus Lecane (45 species), and the genera Lepadella and Cephalodella hold 10% (18 species) each. Differences in species composition between phytotelmata and other Jamaican freshwaters and the lack of some genera such as Brachionus might be attributed to the habitat heterogeneity of the latter.