[Title fragment 1.1] [Title fragment 1.2] [Title fragment 1.3]
[Title fragment 2.1] [Title fragment 2.2] [Title fragment 2.3]
[Title fragment 3.1] [Title fragment 3.2] [Title fragment 3.3]

Krapanj (VII) or: Thinking about micro moral in summer

[ Halechiniscus from the croatian island Krapanj ]

Once again: a Halechiniscus tardigrade from the croatian island Krapanj.
Body length ca. 0.2 mm.

Allotment gardeners, quite normal private gardeners and professional gardeners(i. e. farmers), all of them must kill on a regular basis - in order to defend their products again uninvited co-eaters. And it is perfectly clear that we might risk starvation in case they would behave differently - just think about those cat-sized rats in some tropical countries feeding on stored harvest.

Agricultural practitioners will not think twice about all this. From the point of view of a farmer some kind of killing will simply be necessary from time to time. There can be no doubt that in professional farming scenarios the "less useful" organisms will have to be killed from time to time, no matter whether this is done by natural or synthetic poisons or some other means. Even the hobby gardener will cut unwanted snails into halves or dip them in alkaline chemistry in order to kill them. And of course many house owners will have thought intensively about the most efficient methods to kill unwanted ants penetrating their homes - they might have considered and actually used baking powder, gas flames and boiling water.

Most of our readers will have a basic understanding of microscopic life and as a consequence might feel some sympathy with those small organisms which have to fight so hard for their modest living. At those moments some bizarre thoughts about micro morals will possibly come up.

Let's provide an example: when screening the micro aquaria from the Krapanj island we first found some marine tardigrades of the genus Halechiniscus (the image above is depicting an individual of this kind). But a few weeks later the micro aquaria were taken over by Florarctus tardigrades (see image below). So one question might be whether we - as eye-witnesses - of this little war should have taken sides and possibly have given some help to the weaker Halechiniscus individuals. Or should we possibly have had them transferred to a different, less risky micro aquarium? Slightly ridiculous? Well, yes, slightly. But it goes without saying that we couldn't be held responsible if we had not been watching the process. The philosophical problem did arise from microscopy itself, didn't it?

[ Florarctus from the croatian island Krapanj ]

A Floractus tardigrade from the croatian island Krapanj

But things became even worse: Florarctus, the winner was then defeated by a population of really ugly black mites! This time the combat looked even more horrible in our eyes and we finally stopped watching the cruelties in the micro aquarium. Funny, crazy or tragic, what do you think?

© Text, images and video clips by  Martin Mach  (webmaster@baertierchen.de).
The Water Bear web base is a licensed and revised version of the German language monthly magazine  Bärtierchen-Journal . Style and grammar amendments by native speakers are warmly welcomed.

Main Page