The Krka National Park in Croatia - a tardigrade home (I)
Visual water impression from the Krka National Park, Croatia. In the background the central main waterfall is visible. The overall dramatic appearance is simply due to higher water levels, no tsunami catastrophe.
As a tardigrade enthusiast we are used to look out for typical tardigrade habitats like the one shown below: Calcite containing sun-lit walls, close to flowing water, a perfectly ideal situation. This one was half way up of the Krka waterfall slope:
Some cement-guided water, ornamented by moss.
So we felt compelled to take one of our very modest
moss samples (remember, we were amidst of a National Park!). At home the moss was put
in water and screened as usual.
Tardigrade "deposit". When squeezing softly the characteristic material properties become more apparent.
And yes, the tardigrades themselves must be present, too. We are going to show one of them here:
Krka National Park, Echiniscus sp. tardigrade, body length ca. 0.2 mm.
Krka National Park, Echiniscus sp. tardigrade, different focus level, body length ca. 0.2 mm.
Those among you who love exact terminology and species determination are cordially invited to count the thorns and filaments in the image above (possibly filaments in positions "A" and "D"?) and to draw their own conclusions. We think that most of those Echiniscus species are so closely related that it is not worth while to tell them apart. But of course, this is up to you to decide. Just proceed as you like to!
© Text, images and video clips by
Martin Mach (firstname.lastname@example.org).