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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Animal Update

Air Date: Week of

Living On Earth’s Maggie Villiger reports on the discovery of a tiny animal in the cold springs of Disko Island in Greenland.


VILLIGER: A tiny creature discovered on Greenland's Disko Island is in a class by itself, literally. The microscopic invertebrate belongs to a brand new category of animals and may even be a missing link between known classes of marine creatures. Called Limnognathia, this animal is only a tenth of a millimeter long, and a full third of that length consists of its extraordinarily complicated jaw. It scrapes this jaw over underwater mosses for food and can skewer particles as small as one bacterium for a snack. So far, only female Limnognathia have been found, leading scientists to conclude these gals can reproduce without the help of males. And why was Limnognathia unknown until recently? Previous investigations on Disko Island focused on warm springs, not the cold springs where Limnognathia lives, frozen solid for half the year under six feet of snow. That's this week's animal update. I'm Maggie Villiger.



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