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Table 9 Discriminative criteria used in Nebularmis taxonomy (all traits refer to states present in adults if not referred directly to other life stages; comparison based on all examined populations, see also [78, 28] for N. cirinoi and N reticulatus)

From: New Indomalayan Nebularmis species (Heterotardigrada: Echiniscidae) provoke a discussion on its intrageneric diversity

CHARACTERISTIC Nebularmis auratus sp. nov. Nebularmis bhutanensis sp. nov. Nebularmis burmensis sp. nov. Nebularmis cirinoi Nebularmis crebraclava Nebularmis indicus sp. nov. Nebularmis reticulatus
Cephalic papilla elongated and thin very large and swollen elongated and thin elongated and thin elongated and thin elongated and thin elongated and thin
Primary clava elongated, reduced blunt-ended, of average size elongated, reduced blunt-ended, of average size blunt-ended, of average size elongated, reduced usually blunt-ended, of average size
Cirrus A 1722% of the body length, with smooth and thickened proximal end of flagellum 2226% of the body length, with smooth and slightly thickened proximal end of flagellum 1619% of the body length, with smooth proximal end of flagellum roughly equal in width to the distal end 2835% of the body length, with smooth and slightly thickened proximal end of flagellum 1627% of the body length, with smooth and slightly thickened proximal end of flagellum 1926% of the body length, with smooth and thickened proximal end of flagellum 2763% of the body length, often with rugose proximal end of flagellum roughly equal in width to the distal end
Micropores in the scapular plate present and randomly distributed (absent in juveniles) present along anterior and posterior margins absent absent absent absent absent or present along anterior and posterior margins (present in juveniles)
Epicuticular granules tendency towards merging, but still well-separated in some plates well-separated in all plates, hexagonal and not circular, with evident striae well-separated in median and anterior portions of paired segmental plates, evident bumps in the latter strong tendency towards merging, circular and very wide well-separated in all plates, with very wide spaces between them, hexagonal and not circular, with evident striae well-connected by thick striae but clearly separated in all plate portions except for the lateralmost portions of paired segmental plates strong tendency towards merging, usually visible in the scapular plate
Pedal plate IV unsculptured strongly sculptured unsculptured weakly sculptured strongly sculptured unsculptured unsculptured
Claw branches IV [μm/sp] 19.222.2
31.6–33.6
17.320.1
34.4–44.9
18.120.5
32.9–37.1
15.219.7
26.6–33.7
16.121.4b 15.618.0
30.7–40.7
17.533.9
29.9–49.4
Claw spurs of average size, isonych and with blunt ends very large and heteronych, spurs IV larger and more divergent from branches than spurs IIII small and short, isonych of average size and heteronych, spurs IV larger and more divergent from branches than spurs IIII very large, no data available on whether spurs IV differ from spurs I–III small and short, isonych large and isonych
Malesa unknown present unknown absent present present absent
  1. a Numerous populations of N. cirinoi and N reticulatus have been examined, and no males were found; thus, the assertion about their parthenogenetic nature is supported. For two other species, Nebularmis auratus sp. nov. and Nebularmis burmensis sp. nov., population sizes were too small to exclude dioecy
  2. b Data not provided in the original description [66]
  3. Proximal end of flagellum = flagellum base