In issue #26
we have come across the strange tardigrade Cornechiniscus cornutus .
As there are in fact very few tardigrades with horns, we had no problems
in finding out the correct genus name Cornechiniscus .
Taxonomy is a method to give a name and a systematic place to a certain
animal in order to fight mental chaos. So it has its justification.
But at the same time the concentration on taxonomy bears the inherent risk
that all those properties which are of no importance to taxonomy will be
There is no doubt that in the past serious publications simply had no other
choice than to concentrate on a few characteristic properties: it would have
been too expensive for text books to present tardigrades in full colour
and as seen from different perspectives. Earlier publications were even more
restricted, e.g. to text-only articles or to line drawings.
So it is no surprise that current publications tend to show the tardigrades
from the top perspective only. But is this the right perspective for us
For comparison just think of a photographer portraying humans from
the sky perspective only: his/her portraits would show no faces, just
top views of - possibly bold - heads and perhaps human backs.
A scanning electron microscope (SEM) portrait would show a grey skin only,
no eye colours and by this disguise everything what we like to look at
in everyday human conversation.
So, as we do not need to concentrate on taxonomy in our microscope
amateur magazine and as we do have no scanning electron microscope
at hand, we can try to portray the tardigrades in a similar way
as we would do with humans. Just think of this method as a more shallow
style complementary to serious scientific literature.