New Tardigrade Species Found In Japan

Posted: Mar 1 2018, 6:30am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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New Tardigrade Species Found in Japan
A new tardigrade species has been identified in Japanese car parking. Credit: Stec et al (2018)

A Novel Variety of Tardigrade found in Japan

A new tardigrade species has been pinpointed in Japan. A study on the matter was published recently in a scientific journal. Tardigrades are basically very small metazoans.

They are spread all around the planet and in Japan alone there are 167 species of these tiny creatures. The Macrobiotus hufelandi was identified a long time ago but there are many subtypes as well as the researchers found out.

The novel species is known as Macrobiotus shonaicus sp. nov. and it hails from East Asia. The researchers found this tardigrade within a small amount of moss that was growing in a park in Japan.

Ten such tardigrades were identified in this sample. They were added to a culture in a petri dish within lab settings. Then phase contrast light microscopy (PCM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEP) were used to examine the DNA sequences of these tardigrades.

The new species was identified with ease. Where it was situated in the phylogenetic matrix was also determined though with some difficulty.

The researchers especially paid attention to the eggs of the species. The new species has solid eggs with a hard surface. This places it firmly in the persimilis group.

These eggs furthermore have many filaments attached to them. This feature is such that it makes them similar to two other species that are extant in Africa and South America.

Now the species of tardigrades in Japan have increased from 167 to 168. That is an addition of one. Research on the species known as tardigrades began in 1834.

The egg morphology in tardigrades was later on identified to be divided into two typologies. Tardigrades are known to be very strange creatures since you cannot kill them. Also they easily turn into glass and have been known to survive the freezing vacuum of outer space too.

The study about the discovery of new tardigrade species got published on February 28, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daniel Stec from the Jagiellonian University, Poland, and colleagues.

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