New Tardigrade Species Found In Japanese Carpark

Scientists have characterized a new species of tardigrade found hiding in moss collected from a carpark in Japan.

AsianScientist (Mar. 9, 2018) – A new tardigrade species has been identified in Japan, according to a study published in PLOS ONE.

Tardigrades are microscopic metazoans that are found all over the world. A large group of tardigrades, known as the Macrobiotus hufelandi complex, was first described by taxonomist C. A. S. Schultze in 1834.

In this study, researchers led by Dr. Daniel Stec at Jagiellonian University, Poland, described a new tardigrade species, M. shonaicus sp. nov., from East Asia. The researchers collected a sample of moss from a car park in Japan and examined it for tardigrades, extracting ten individuals from the sample. These ten individuals were used to start a laboratory culture to obtain more samples required for the range of analyses.

The researchers then used phase contrast light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to visualize the microscopic creatures. They also analyzed the DNA of the tardigrades for four molecular markers to characterize the new species and determine where it fit in the phylogenetic tree.

To distinguish between different tardigrade species, the researchers paid special attention to their eggs. This new tardigrade species has a solid egg surface. The eggs also had flexible filaments attached, resembling those of two other recently described species, M. paulinae from Africa and M. polypiformis from South America.

“We revisit the large and long-standing M. hufelandi group of tardigrades originally described by Schultze in 1834, and suggest that the group contains two clades with different egg morphology,” said Dr. Kazuharu Arakawa of Keio University, who is a co-author of the study.

The article can be found at: Stec et al. (2018) An integrative description of Macrobiotus shonaicus sp. nov. (Tardigrada: Macrobiotidae) from Japan With nNotes on Its Phylogenetic Position Within the Hufelandi group.


Source: PLOS; Photo: Stec et al.
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