A view of the city of Munich - slightly different (IV)
Tardigrade egg from Munich pavement moss. The surface area of the egg is completely covered by so-called protrusions the geometry of which is described as "egg-cup shape" in literature. Those protrusions are considered to be characteristic for the best known species within the Macrobious genus, Macrobiotus hufelandi. Possibly our readers will remember that the inner structure of the egg shown corresponds to an early development stage (multi-cell stage but still undifferentiated), the so-called morula stage (looking like some kind a berry). Diameter of the egg: ca. 60 µm.
Perhaps you might wonder about the difference between rural and city
tardigrade living conditions? And perhaps you will remember one of those children's book
where two mice are discussing the advantages and disadvantages of their living
areas, city vs countryside? Possibly in both areas there is a constant danger
for the tardigrades to be killed by the human species which might be called the eager homo pavement cleaner.
In many European countries you will come across people who think that every
tiny moss cushion is a representation of the devil on earth. As a consequence
they are performing regular steam-cleaning on every pavement stone around their houses.
Artificial resin particle from Munich pavement moss, ca. 1/10 of a millimeter in size.
Pigmented particle from Munich pavement moss, about the same size als above, ca. 1/10 of a millimeter in size. Most probably this one is a flake made up of white marker paint from parking area lines. Those lines suffer from constant abrasion and are not tremendously durable.
And yes, all those numerous dog hairs found within those city moss samples can be regarded as anthropogene as well (no image). Those hairs have a sad tendency to bind with the moss and to stay kept in it. Nevertheless the tardigrades appear to be able to cope with all the mixed garbage of the city environment. They just have to find some tiny piece of "city green" and cling to it. It will serve them as a home, nutrition source and shelter. There are tiny cavities which can be found and used as tardigrade homes, as shown below:
Tardigrade on (and in!) a tiny vegetable particle from Munich pavement moss.
© Text, images and video clips by
Martin Mach (firstname.lastname@example.org).