Current knowledge of the Tardigrada of Svalbard with the first records of water bears from Nordaustlandet (High Arctic)

  • Krzysztof Zawierucha Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Pozna?, Poland
  • Stephen J. Coulson
  • Łukasz Michalczyk
  • Łukasz Kaczmar
Keywords: Checklist, Edgeøya, new species, Prins Karls Forland, soil fauna, Svalbard biodiversity


The first investigations of the tardigrades of Svalbard took place in the early 20th century and 30 papers on the subject have been published to date. In this article, we summarize available information on the distribution of tardigrades in this Arctic archipelago with remarks on the dubious species and records. Additionally, we examined 28 new moss, lichen and soil samples collected from the islands of Nordaustlandet, Edgeøya and Prins Karls Forland. These samples yielded 324 specimens, 15 exuvia and 132 free-laid eggs belonging to 16 limnoterrestrial species (Heterotardigrada and Eutardigrada). These include five first records of water bears from Nordaustlandet, eight new records for Edgeøya and four for Prince Karls Forland. The most dense population of tardigrades was found in a sample with 253 specimens/10 g of dry material and the least dense population in a sample with three specimens/10 g of dry material. The most frequently recorded species in samples collected in this study were Testechiniscus spitsbergensis Scourfield, 1897, Macrobiotus harmsworthi harmsworthi Murray, 1907, and M. islandicus islandicus Richters, 1904. This article also provides the first ever scanning electron microscope photomicrographs of Tenuibiotus voronkovi Tumanov, 2007.

Keywords: Checklist; Edgeøya; new species; Prins Karls Forland; soil fauna; Svalbard biodiversity

(Published: 20 November 2013)

To access the supplementary material for this article, please see Supplementary files in the column to the right (under Article Tools).

Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 20886,


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How to Cite
ZawieruchaK., CoulsonS. J., Michalczyk Łukasz, & Kaczmar Łukasz. (2013). Current knowledge of the Tardigrada of Svalbard with the first records of water bears from Nordaustlandet (High Arctic). Polar Research, 32.
Research/review articles