The Krka National Park in Croatia - a tardigrade home (II)
We have seen in the previous issue that the Croatian Krka National Park is home of Echiniscus tardigrades.
At the same time it is offering a fascinating variety of different shades of the "soul" of water,
- the water as it is trying to flow smoothly and majestically towards the center of our planet
- the colorful water, acting as a mysterious mirror
- the treacherous and dangerous water with its nasty traps for harmless underwater micro tourists
- and moreover the microscopic water for us microscopists
Ceratium sp. alga from the Krka Park (a freshwater micro organism, less than 0.5 mm in length.
A marvelous rotifer, as seen from above, presenting its perfect "wheels".
- plus many tardigrades, residing in the water and along its banks
Tardigrade from the Krka Park, with macroplacoids and claws
similar to those of Macrobiotus hufelandi
An egg, apparently belonging to the kind of tardigrade as shown above.
Its overall diameter is ca. 90 µm, without protrusions 70 µm. It might fit to the species Macrobiotus hufelandi -
almost (see below).
As already known, the biologists of the 20th century felt
to be in an inferior "soft" position, in particular when compared with
allegedly "tougher" scientific disciplines like chemistry or physics.
This might explain the emergence and reason behind many of those myriads of
measurements and data tables collected in unending hours of painstaking microscopic
study. How on earth should one otherwise cope with the complexity of life?
Ernst Marcus, one of the best tardigrade scientists described the Macrobiotus hufelandi egg
as follows: "the diameter of the globular eggs is 72 - 90 µm without the protrusions,
with the protrusions measuring 3 - 10 µm in length [...]. The perimeter protrusion count
in one focus level is about 19 - 27" [translation from the German language by us].
The egg diameter as stated by Ernst Marcus is similar to the one noted by us above
but there is a problem with the perimeter count: we do count 30 at our egg -
so it doesn't fit perfectly into Ernst Marcus' description of the Macrobiotus hufelandi egg.
A nasty nature, isn't it? Always causing problems in taxonomy and ignoring our wishes
with respect to precision and a safer biological science!
Ernst Marcus: Tardigrada. p. 145. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena 1928.
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