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Comparison of the Biology and Freezing Tolerance of Panagrolaimus Davidi, an Antarctic Nematode, From Field Samples and Cultures

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Samples of Panagrolaimus davidi, an Antarctic nematode which tolerates intracellular freezing, were collected from Cape Bird, Ross Island and compared with nematodes cultured for nine years. The field distribution of nematodes was patchy and was not correlated with the water content of the sample or the presence of algae. Field-collected nematodes were similar in morphology to those from cultures, although there were differences in morphometrics. Males predominated in field material, whereas cultures contained only parthenogenetic females. The freezing tolerance of field-collected nematodes was similar to those from cultures. Nematodes in culture are thus a valid model for the study of the adaptations involved in the survival of the extreme environmental stresses faced by these animals in their Antarctic habitats.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand


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