The new species of Tardigrades has adaptations such as reduced legs and claws for living underground.
Scientists have come across an entirely new species of tardigrades, aka water bears. The tardigrade was discovered in Rokua National Park in northern Finland’s Ostrobothnia coastal region. Ice and wind have shaped the landscape, which has formed different features, including lichen-rich inland dunes threatened by human activity. The University of Jyvaskyla biologist Matteo Vecchi led a team of scientists to collect moss, lichen, leaf litter, and roots from the sands of Rokua. Not only did they find tardigrades, but they also found a new species. This is the fifth known species of the Macrobiotus pseudohufelandi complex. These Tardigrades have specifically adapted to live underground, having reduced claws and legs.
Nagini, Voldemort’s pet snake
The species was dubbed Macrobiotus naginae after Nagini, Voldemort’s pet snake and the final Horcrux in the Harry Potter novels, Goblet of Fire. “This fictional character, formerly a cursed woman who is permanently and irreversibly rendered limbless, provides a suitable name for the new species within the pseudohufelandi complex that possesses reduced legs and claws as well,” the researchers wrote. It is possible that tardigrades evolved smaller limbs so they could crawl more efficiently across soil and sand. Despite the need for water, tardigrades are also able to survive long periods of drought, which might be useful in more arid regions. A tardigrade’s anhydrobiosis results in the expulsion of water from its body, leaving the organism as a dry, virtually indestructible piece. A tardigrade can live in this suspended state for years or decades, then suddenly reanimate in the presence of water.