Molecular and morphological analysis of an Antarctic tardigrade, Acutuncus antarcticus


  • Hiroshi Kagoshima Research Organization of Information and Systems (ROIS), Japan.
  • Satoshi Imura National Institute of Polar Research, Japan.
  • Atsushi C. Suzuki | Keio University, Yokohama, Japan.


We isolated a species of tardigrade from moss samples collected from Langhovde and Skarvsnes, near Syowa station, East Antarctic, from which we cultured a parthenogenetic strain in Petri dishes with co-occurring cyanobacteria or green algae. This culture was maintained at both 4 and 10ºC, though the latter proved more suitable for growth. Eggs were laid free, rather than in exuviae. We isolated the 18S rRNA sequences from this tardigrade, identical to that of Acutuncus antarcticus from King George island, South Shetland islands. Morphological analyses via both light and scanning electron microscopy also show general agreement with characteristics of A. antarcticus: dorsal and ventral apophyses for the insertion of stylet muscles and dorsal longitudinal thickening on the anterior part of buccal tube; presence of pharyngeal apophyses, two macroplacoids and absence of a microplacoid; the surface structure of egg; and claw shape. Peribuccal lamellae were absent, but six oval swellings surrounded the mouth opening. An additional study of moss pillars from lake Hotoke-ike, Skarvsnes, proved the existence of the same tardigrade taxon living at the bottom of the lake.



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12th International Symposium on Tardigrada
Supporting Agencies
This research was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 23247012 for S.I. and No. 23510239 for H.K.) from JSPS
Tardigrada, antarctica, cultivation, exuviae, JARE (Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition), 18S rRNA.
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How to Cite
Kagoshima H, Imura S, Suzuki AC. Molecular and morphological analysis of an Antarctic tardigrade, Acutuncus antarcticus. J Limnol [Internet]. 2013 Mar. 27 [cited 2021 Sep. 27];72(s1):e3. Available from: