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Arctic Sea Ice Nematodes (Monhysteroidea), With Descriptions of Cryonema Crassum Gen. N., Sp. N. and C. Tenue Sp. N

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For more content, see Nematology.

Arctic sea ice presents a habitat to nematodes living in the lacunary system close to the undersurface of the ice. Only members of the Monhysteroidea have been encountered as yet, and it appears that these nematode species are confined to the ice habitat. In collections from the Fram Strait, near Greenland, and the Laptev Sea, off Siberia, we rediscovered Theristus melnikovi Tchesunov, 1986, previously described from the Central Arctic Ocean. Cryonema crassum gen. n., sp. n. and Cryonema tenue sp. n. were collected off Siberia; juveniles of Cryonema spp. have also been found in the Fram Strait. The new genus Cryonema is closely related to the genus Gammarinema and to similar genera which occur in association with crustaceans, e.g. in the gill chambers of land crabs, and to Odontobius ceti, an inhabitant of the baleen of whales. The tail tip of Cryonema contains an internal funnel-like structure, possibly part of a closure mechanism for the caudal glands; similar structures have been observed in some other related genera. Many ice nematodes show an empty intestine; sometimes single protist cells or granular substances were observed. Cryonema crassum may feed on small nematodes.

Affiliations: 1: ) Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow 119899, Russia; 2: ) Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung D-27568 Bre-merhaven, Germany


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