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Batillipes noerrevangi (*) from the Baltic Sea

As reported in our recent issue, the Baltic Sea water/sand sample from Prerow had appeared to be inhabited, possibly poisoned by hydrogen sulphide. But, after some weeks the system stabilized in a miraculous manner: the hydrogen sulphide smell vanished. From somewhere the tardigrades appeared and their population number began to increase rapidly.

Tardigrade life cycles came up with their typical traces like the cuticulae from moulting which we have presented here already several times.

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade cuticula, desposited after moulting ]

Sea water/sand sample from the Baltic Sea (Prerow) with a deposited tardigrade cuticula. Please note once more that during moulting the content of the stomach/intestine region will always remain within the cuticula. This is a true low pollution toilet solution! Instead Homo sapiens makes use of dirty highway toilets with lots of cheaning chemistry.

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade cuticula, deposited after moulting ]

A further cuticula from the Baltic Sea / Pererow, this time at high magnification. The preparation of those cuticulae can cause problems as they have a tendency to wrinkle, similar to a bunch of flowers' cellophane. Image width 0.2 mm.

Even though we like the cuticulae in order to study anatomical detail without brutality, we want to study live tardies as well. They are more difficult to spot as they have a strong tendency to hide behind sand grains.

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade, total view ]

Baltic Sea tardigrade, head partially hidden behind sand grain.

When looking at this photograph you will notice that this particular species has not yet been described in our magazine. It has a two-ended, fork type appendix which is markedly differing from the other Batillipes species like e.g. Batillipes mirus with its longer single tip appendix. Besides, those tardigrades move quite vividly and so it is difficult to get good live images (please note: tardigrade quenching is strictly forbidden!)

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade ]

Baltic Sea tardigrade. The image is blurred due to the characteristic swiveling motions of the head and hind body. Note the mouth opening.

You will need some patience in order to photographically grasp those few moments of relative immobility:

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade, hind body ]

Detail of hind body with fork type appendix. Female with mature egg (grey).

Now let's stop looking at the hind body all the time. This is a proper portrait view:

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade, detail view, head region ]

Baltic Sea tardigrade, detail view, head region.

The following detail view of a hind body shows lateral lobes. Also in the total view it is apparent that the individual shown is a male (tip of stomach end symmetric).

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade, detail view of hind body]

Baltic Sea tardigrade, male, detail view of hind body with fork style appendix and lateral lobes between the third and fourth pair of legs.

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade, total view ]

Baltic Sea tardigrade, male, total view. Body length ca. 0.2 mm.

At extreme magnification the cuticula shows a grainy surface character.

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade, cuticula ]

Baltic Sea tardigade, structure of the cuticula as seen under high magnification

Last but not least we present a strongly magnified view of two adhesive toes in contact with the specimen slide. You will possibly remember our previous description of the glue secretion. It is highly probable that the adhesive properties are resulting from a combination of glue and vacuum. Overall this appears to be an appropriate toolbox for a maritime tardigrade living within the tide turbulences.

[ Baltic Sea tardigrade, detail: adhesive disks ]

Baltic Sea tardigrade, detail of the cuticula, oval contours of two adhesive disks in contact with the specimen slide.

All the properties shown are in accordance with

Batillipes noerrevangi

and on this basis a further tardigrade species can be added to our Baltic Sea tardigrade species list. Once more the Baltic Sea has given evidence that it is not just a shallow brackish green pond completely filled up with ghastly medusae (just feel ashamed, you cynics out there ... ;-).

(*) Due to the attention and kind amendment hint of our reader Frans Roza we have been able to correct our first and erroneous determination (as Batillipes dicrocercus) to the much better fitting Batillipes noerrevangi. Many thanks!


Reinhardt M. Kristensen: On the fine structure of Batillipes noerrevangi.
Zoologischer Anzeiger, 197 (1976), pp. l29 - l50.

© Text, images and video clips by  Martin Mach  (webmaster@baertierchen.de).
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.

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