Recently, New tardigrade species Stygarctus keralensis was discovered from Vadakara in north Kerala.
New tardigrade species Stygarctus keralensis
- Stygarctus keralensis – the new species – is the first taxonomically described marine tardigrade from the Indian waters.
- Tardigrades are so small you need high-end microscopes to study them.
- Commonly called ‘water bears’ and ‘moss piglets’, they also rank among the hardiest animals on planet earth despite their minuscule size.
- Stygarctus keralensis is the eighth species named under the genus Stygarctus named after the State of Kerala where it was found.
- Tardigrades are very tough animals and are found everywhere on earth, from mountain tops to deep sea. They have survived five mass extinctions. They are also related to insects, spiders, and crustaceans and are the lesser known taxa of invertebrates.
- Tardigrades employ a curious process to deal with environmental stress. Called ‘cryptobiosis’, it brings their metabolic activities to a reversible standstill.
- A death-like state, more or less. Certain tardigrade species can withstand extreme temperatures, pressures, radiation, and dehydration.
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