Fractonotus

Class : Eutardigrada

Order : Isohypsibioidea

Family : Isohypsibioidea

Genus : Fractonotus

Genus Fractonotus

Hypsibioidea from Pilato 1969 in Marley et al. 2011: “Parachela; claws asymmetrical (2121); Hypsibius-type claw pairs; AISM hooked (or, if the buccal tube is elongated, AISM can be broad ridges).”

Hypsibioidea from Bertolani et al. 2014: “Double claws asymmetrical with respect to the median plane of the leg (2121), the external (or posterior) claw often with flexible main branch; double claws different in size and shape on the same leg (Hypsibius and Ramazzottius type, or modified), or very reduced in size (Calohypsibius and Microhypsibius type); buccal tube often very narrow”

Hypsibioidea from Gąsiorek et al. 2018: “Eutardigrades with asymmetrical claws (2-1-2-1) and pseudolunulae at claw bases or without any cuticular structures under the basal parts. Hooked or broad-ridged apophyses for the insertion of the stylet muscles. Herbivorous or microbivorous (Guidetti et al. 2012).”

Microhypsibiidae from Pilato 1998: “Eutardigrades having claws arranged asymmetrically with respect to the median plane of the legs. Claws of Microhypsibius type: the claws have a narrow basal portion continuous with the primary branch; the secondary branch is rigidly joined to the primary branch. The internal claws cannot rotate on their bases.”

Hypsibiidae from Bertolani et al. 2014: “Double claws of the Microhypsibius type (small, rigid, with an evident thin basal tract continuous with the primary branch); buccal tube completely rigid; double claws similar in size and shape on the same leg; apophyses for the insertion of the stylet muscles on the buccal tube asymmetrical with respect to the frontal plane. Pharynx with a septulum in some species.”

Genus description from Pilato 1998: “Microhypsibiidae; paired elliptical organ present on the head; buccal tube rigid; ventral lamina absent. Dorsal and ventral apophyses for the insertion of the stylet muscles asymmetrical with respect to the frontal plane; the dorsal apophyses split into two clearly distinct portions: the anterior portion is a stumpy hook with a blunt caudal apex, the caudal portion is a longitudinal thickening. The ventral apophyses is a very slightly prominent ridge with no hook. Both the dorsal and ventral apophyses with two very slender caudal processes pointing posteriorly and laterally. Peribuccal lamellae and peribuccal papulae apparently absent. Posterior to the stylet supports, the lateral walls of the buccal tube have a longitudinal thickening similar to that present in the genus Ramazzottius. Pharyngeal apophyses and placoids are present. The two branches of the furcae of the stylets have thickened, swollen and rounded apices. Lunulae absent in the known species. Smooth eggs laid in the exuviae.”


Citations :

Fractonotus image from Ramazzotti G, Maucci W. 1983. Il phylum Tardigrada(III edizione riveduta e aggiornata). English translation by C. W. Beasley, 1995. Memorie dell’ Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia 41: 1-1012.

“Parts” images from Pilato G, Binda MG. 2010. Definition of families, subfamilies, genera, and subgenera of the Eutardigrada, and keys to their identification. Zootaxa. 2404: 1-54.

Bertolani R, Guidetti R, Marchioro T, Altiero T, Rebecchi L, Cesari M. 2014. Phyloeny of Eutardigrada: New molecular data and their morphological support lead to the identification of new evolutionary lineages. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 76: 110-126.

Gąsiorek P, Stec D, Morek W, Michalczyk Ł. 2018. An integrative redescription of Hypsibius dujardini (Doyère, 1840), the nominal taxon for Hypsibioidea (Tardigrada: Eutardigrada). Zootaxa. 4415 (1): 45-75.

Marley NJ, McInnes SJ, Sands CJ. 2011. Phylum Tardigrada: A re-evaluation of the Parachela. Zootaxa. 2819: 51-64.

Pilato G. 1969. Schema per una nuova sistemazione delle famiglie e dei generi degli Eutardigrada. Bollettino delle Sedute della Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali in Catania, Series IV. 10 (277): 181-193.

Claw Symmetry Relative To Median Plane Of Leg?

Image from Bingemer J, Hohberg K. 2017. An illustrated identification key to the eutardigrade species (Tardigrada, Eutardigrada) presently known from European soils. Soil Organisms. 89 (3): 127-149.

Stylet Support Insertion Point As Percentage Of Buccal Tube Length

Stylet support insertion point = ss divided by Buccal tube length, as %. Note anterior measurements begin at anterior margin of stylet sheaths, ss is centred where stylet supports reach buccal tube (this requires a good dorsal or lateral view for proper measurement)


Image from Tumanov DV. 2006. Five new species of the genus Milnesium (Tardigrada, Eutardigrada, Milnesiidae). Zootaxa. 1122: 1-23.

Buccal Tube Long, Mouth At Anterior Of A Protrusible Snout

Images from Pilato G, Binda MG. 2010. Definition of families, subfamilies, genera, and subgenera of the Eutardigrada, and keys to their identification. Zootaxa. 2404: 1-54.

Pharyngeal Tube With Spiral Reinforcement

Images from Pilato G, Binda MG. 2010. Definition of families, subfamilies, genera, and subgenera of the Eutardigrada, and keys to their identification. Zootaxa. 2404: 1-54.

Peribuccal papillae?

Note: in a tardigrade with snout extended, the flex of the pharyngeal tube may not be obvious.


Images from Pilato G, Binda MG. 2010. Definition of families, subfamilies, genera, and subgenera of the Eutardigrada, and keys to their identification. Zootaxa. 2404: 1-54.

(Lateral) cephalic papillae, peribuccal papillae, Milnesiidae - type claws, exceptionally wide (and usually short) buccal tube?

Cephalic image modified from Nelson DR, Guidetti R, Rebecchi L. 2009. Tardigrada. Ch. 14 in Ecology and Classification of North American Freshwater Invertebrates, Thorp JH, Covich AP (eds.), 3rd ed.

Claw image modified from Pilato G, Binda MG. 2010. Definition of families, subfamilies, genera, and subgenera of the Eutardigrada, and keys to their identification. Zootaxa. 2404: 1-54.

Pharyngeal tube flexible?

Note: in a tardigrade with snout extended, the flex of the pharyngeal tube may not be obvious.


Images from Pilato G, Binda MG. 2010. Definition of families, subfamilies, genera, and subgenera of the Eutardigrada, and keys to their identification. Zootaxa. 2404: 1-54.

Serrated / dentate cuff / collar on legs IV

Left image from Kristensen RM. 1987. Generic revision of the Echiniscidae (Heterotardigrada), with a discussion of the origin of the family. pp. 261-335 in Bertolani R (ed). Biology of Tardigrades: Selected symposia and monographs.

Right Image from Richters F. 1926. Tardigrada. in Krumbach T. 1927. Handbuch der Zoologie, 3rd band, Walter de Gruyter & Co.

Leg sensory structures

Typically papilla on leg IV (se4 in image) and variable shape on leg I


Image from Kristensen RM. 1987. Generic revision of the Echiniscidae (Heterotardigrada), with a discussion of the origin of the family. pp. 261-335 in Bertolani R (ed). Biology of Tardigrades: Selected symposia and monographs.

Trunk appendages

Appendages (after Cirrus A) labeled according to plate … B (Scapular plate), C (First segmental plate), D (Second segmental plate), E (terminal plate). “B” is lateral, “Bd” is dorsal

Be careful! There can be great variability within a population, with individuals (especially juveniles) lacking some appendages. When in doubt, choose “Unclear” to ignore this character!


Left image from Ramazzotti G, Maucci W. 1983. Il phylum Tardigrada(III edizione riveduta e aggiornata). English translation by C. W. Beasley, 1995. Memorie dell’ Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia 41: 1-1012.

Right image cropped from Kristensen RM. 1987. Generic revision of the Echiniscidae (Heterotardigrada), with a discussion of the origin of the family. pp. 261-335 in Bertolani R (ed). Biology of Tardigrades: Selected symposia and monographs.

Cirrus A form

Images modified from Kristensen RM. 1987. Generic revision of the Echiniscidae (Heterotardigrada), with a discussion of the origin of the family. pp. 261-335 in Bertolani R (ed). Biology of Tardigrades: Selected symposia and monographs.

Lower image (Mopsechiniscus) modified from du Bois-Reymond Marcus E. 1944. Sobre tardigrados brasileiros. Communicaciones Zoologicas del Museo de Historia Natural de Montevideo. 1(13): 1-19 plus plates.

Terminal / caudal plate with two notches?

Images modified from Kristensen RM. 1987. Generic revision of the Echiniscidae (Heterotardigrada), with a discussion of the origin of the family. pp. 261-335 in Bertolani R (ed). Biology of Tardigrades: Selected symposia and monographs.

First image (Echiniscus) modified from Richters F. 1926. Tardigrada. in Krumbach T. 1927. Handbuch der Zoologie, 3rd band, Walter de Gruyter & Co.

Inner & outer buccal cirri present

Image modified from Nelson DR, Guidetti R, Rebecchi L. 2009. Tardigrada. Ch. 14 in Ecology and Classification of North American Freshwater Invertebrates, Thorp JH, Covich AP (eds.), 3rd ed.

Pseudosegmental plate between last medial plate & terminal plate?

Note on 2nd image, what you see before the terminal plate is either no plate, or a full-width medial plate; don’t confuse the latter with a pseudosegmental plate!
Also, sometimes the pseudosegmental plate is paired, like segmental plates II & III. It’s still pseudosegmental!

Images from Clifford HF. 1991. Aquatic invertebrates of Alberta. University of Alberta Press, Alberta, Canada.

Segmental plates larger than intersegmental?

Image modified from Lindahl & Balser (1999), http://www.iwu.edu/~tardisdp/Keypage35.html

Any Paired Plates?

Images from Kristensen RM. 1987. Generic revision of the Echiniscidae (Heterotardigrada), with a discussion of the origin of the family. pp. 261-335