Paradiphascon

Class : Eutardigrada

Order : Isohypsibioidea

Family : Doryphoribiidae

Genus : Paradiphascon

Genus Paradiphascon

Isohypsibioidea from Marley et al. 2011: “Parachela. Claws asymmetrical (2121); Isohypsibius-type claw pairs; AISM ridged.”

Isohypsibioidea from Bertolani et al. 2014: “Double claws asymmetrical with respect to the median plane of the leg (2121), normally with similar shape and size on each leg; double claws of the Isohypsibius type (secondary branch of the external claw inserted perpendicularly on the claw basal tract), or reduced from it: Hexapodibius type (very short, without common basal tract, with a base as large as the sum of the primary and secondary branch widths, and with an evident suture between primary and secondary branch); Haplomacrobiotus type (one branch only); completely absent (Apodibius). Buccal tube completely rigid (apart Paradiphascon; see below) and often relatively large, without (Dastychius, Eremobiotus, Halobiotus, Isohypsibius, Paradiphascon, Pseudobiotus, Thulinius) or with (Apodibius, Doryphoribius, Haplomacrobiotus, Haplohexapodibius, Hexapodibius, Parhexapodibius) ventral lamina. Eggs with smooth shell laid within the exuvium.”

Isohypsibiidae from Marley et al. 2011: “Isohypsibioidea. Claw pairs of similar size and shape. External and internal claws exhibiting articulation (the basal section and secondary branch form a solid unit while the primary branch and secondary branch articulate). Claws Isohypsibius-type, forming a right-angle between basal section and secondary branch. AISM ridge-like.”

Genus description from Dastych 1992: “Semiterrestrial eutardigrades belonging to the family Hypsibiidae Pilato, 1969. Head segment provided with three flat lobes in its frontal (“facial”) part, i.e. a median and two lateral. Upper parts of lateral lobes shaped like a pair of roundish and flattened dome-tipped structures. Mouth opening surrounded by a flat ring of wrinkled cuticle, instead of the usual six peribuccal lobes. Buccopharyngeal apparatus of Diphascon-type, with a ring of lamella-like structures around upper edge of mouth cavity. Mouth tube without strengthening bar and terminated in its posterior part with a strikingly large and striated posteriodorsal apodeme (= ‘drop-like’ structure: Pilato, 1987a). Pharygeal tube relatively wide, conspicuously short and annulated. Claw system of Hypsibius-type, with formula “2121”. The smooth and ovoid eggs are deposited into the [shedded] cuticle.”

Genus additional notes from Pilato & Binda 1996: “…both the dorsal and the ventral apophyses for the insertion of the stylet muscles can be defined in shape of ‘triangular ridge’ rather than ‘hook shaped’… those ‘lamella-like structures’ seem peribuccal papulae rather than lamellae… the claws of Paradiphascon can be considered of Isohypsibius type rather than of Hypsibius type.
Like in other cases, the resemblance with the claws of Hypsibius type can be noted in the internal claws where, being large the portion between the basal portion and the secondary branch, it is not very evident that the angle between the former and the latter is a right angle. but if we consider the axis of the basal portion and the axis of the secondary branch, one can note between them an angle of approximately 90° rather than a continuous curve.”


Citations :

Paradiphascon image from Dastych H. 1992. Paradiphascon manningi gen. n. sp. n., a new water-bear from South Africa, with the erecting of a new subfamily Diphasconinae (Tardigrada). Mitteilungen aus den Hamburgischen Zoologischen Museum und Institut. 89: 125-139.

“Parts” images 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.

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

Pilato G, Binda MG. 1996. Additional remarks to the description of some genera of eutardigrades. Bollettino delle Sedute della Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali in Catania. 29 (351): 33-40.

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