Stygarctus keralensis: New Tardigrade species named after Kerala

A new species named “Stygarctus Keralensis” has been identified in Kerala. This tiny & tough species of Tardigrades has been named after Kerala.’’

Tardigrades

Tardigrades are small specie which are commonly called as ‘water bears’ and ‘moss piglets’. They are so tiny that require high-end microscopes to study them. They are also the hardiest animals on Earth despite their size. They were first described by German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773. He called these species as kleiner Wasserbar.

Stygarctus keralensis

This new tardigrade species belongs to genus Stygarctus. They are the first taxonomically described marine tardigrade from Indian waters. Stygarctus keralensis was discovered from Vadakara in north Kerala. They are the eighth species named under genus Stygarctus. They grow up to the length of 130 micrometers (0.13 mm) and are found on mountain tops as well as deep sea. They have survived five mass extinctions. They get involved in curious process dealing with environmental stress called ‘cryptobiosis’ which brings their metabolic activities to reversible standstill.

Stygarctus

Stygarctus is a genus of tardigrades of family Stygarctidae. It was named in 1951 by Erich Schulz. Greek Styx and arktos.

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