A new Tardiagrade species named after Kerala: Stygarctus keralensis.

18 June 2021.


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

What are 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.

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

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