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Global diversity of tardigrades (Tardigrada) in freshwater

Authors:James R. Garey, Sandra J. McInnes and P. Brent Nichols

Abstract:Tardigrada is a phylum closely allied with the arthropods. They are usually less than 0.5 mm in length, have four pairs of lobe-like legs and are either carnivorous or feed on plant material. Most of the 900+ described tardigrade species are limnoterrestrial and live in the thin film of water on the surface of moss, lichens, algae, and other plants and depend on water to remain active and complete their life cycle. In this review of 910 tardigrade species, only 62 species representing13 genera are truly aquatic and not found in limnoterrestrial habitats although many other genera contain limnoterrestrial species occasionally found in freshwater. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10750-007-9123-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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