A Diphascon tardigrade from Munich
After so many maritime tardigrades in the previous magazine issues we would like
to present a terrestrial species to you, within the genus Diphascon.
We found it among apple green moss cushions, growing on the elevated banks above
an artifical channel parallel to the river Isar, in an area which can be regarded
as sufficiently moist for eutardigrades but still secure against flooding.
Typical moss growing alongside the river Isar channel, north of Munich
This kind of tardigrade might be regarded
as one of the more "worm-like" characters in the big family of tardigrades
(sorry tardigrades!). The body appears to be rather elongated, with the short legs
on both sides of the body barely visible.
Diphascon tardigrade from the elevated banks of the river Isar channel, north of Munich.
Total view, body length ca. 0.3 mm
Why do we think that this individuum has to be considered
as a member of the Diphascon genus? Quite simply because all those Diphascon tardigrades
have a rather long and flexible tubular connection between mouth tube and stomach
(whereas in case of all other tardigrades this connection is rather short and straight, and
far from flexible):
Diphascon tardigrade from Munich, head region with flexible mouth tube connection.
Please note the form and orientation pattern of the macroplacoids within the pharyngeal apparatus,
looking similar to that of Macrobiotus hufelandi
As a rule many microscopists are tremendously interested in the exact species attribution.
In this particular case we hope to be able to correctly fulfill this urgent demand.
When regarding the body from the side we can see that the backside silhouette is dominated
by rows of rather distict protrusions (blobs):
Diphascon tardigrade from Munich, lateral view.
And when focusing from top onto the dorsal region we note
that those bumps are arranged in form of two rows running in parallel:
Diphascon tardigrade from Munich, focus on the protrusions on the backside.
According to our literature (most of which is, admittedly, old
and therefore possibly slightly outdated) the tardigrade shown might be regarded
as a Diphascon bullatum.
The two subsequent photographs might be suited in order to provide the feeling
of the live tardigrade, which is always a little bit apart from the anatomical discussions.
And they might help to forget about the worm word insult :-)
Diphascon tardigrade from Munich, young animal, head region, as seen from top.
Diphascon tardigrade from Munich, young animal, front view.
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