This tiny crustacean has 31,000 genes -- more than any other creature on Earth.
Scientists have sequenced the water flea's genome, revealing that this creature has more genes than any other animal.
This crustacean lives in ponds and lakes. It also reproduces asexually.
The water flea can be found throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
A tiny, translucent water flea that can reproduce without sex and lives in ponds and lakes has more genes than any other creature, said scientists who have sequenced the crustacean's genome.
Daphnia pulex, named after the nymph in Greek mythology who transforms into a tree in order to escape the lovestruck Apollo, has 31,000 genes compared to humans who have about 23,000, said the research in the journal Science.
Often studied by scientists who want to learn about the effects of pollution and environmental changes on water creatures, the almost-microscopic freshwater Daphnia is the first crustacean to have its genome sequenced..
But just because this creature -- viewed as the canary in the gold mine of the world's waters -- has more genes doesn't necessarily mean they are all unique, explained project leader John Colbourne.