The ability of some animal taxa (e.g., nematodes, rotifers, and tardigrades) to enter an ametabolic (cryptobiotic) state is well known. Nevertheless, the phenotypic factors affecting successful anhydrobiosis have rarely been investigated. We report a laboratory study on the effects of body size, reproductive condition, and energetic condition on anhydrobiotic survival in a population of the eutardigrade Richtersius coronifer. Body size and energetic condition interacted in affecting the probability of survival, while reproductive condition had no effect. Large tardigrades had a lower probability of survival than medium-sized tardigrades and showed a positive response in survival to energetic condition. This suggests that energy constrained the possibility for large tardigrades toenter and to leave anhydrobiosis. As a possible alternative explanation for low survival in the largest specimens we discuss the expression of senescence. In line with the view that processes related to anhydrobiosis are connected with energetic costs we documented a decrease in the size of storage cells over a period of anhydrobiosis, showing for the first time that energy is consumed in the process of anhydrobiosis in tardigrades.
- Ekologi (10611)