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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.22.541721

Recovery from anhydrobiosis in the tardigrade Paramacrobiotus experimentalis: better to be young than old and in a group than alone

A. K.Nagwani I. Melosik L. Kaczmarek H. Kmita
Desiccation-tolerant organisms can survive dehydration in a state of anhydrobiosis. Tardigrades can recover from anhydrobiosis at any life stage and are considered among the toughest animals on Earth. However, the factors that influence recovery from anhydrobiosis are not well understood. The study aimed to evaluate the effect of sex, age, occurrence in a group and the combination of the number and duration of anhydrobiosis episodes on the recovery of Paramacrobiotus experimentalis. The activity of 1,200 individuals for up to 48 hours after rehydration was evaluated using ANOVA. Age was the main factor influencing return to activity, followed by the number and duration of anhydrobiosis episodes, group influence, and sex. More individuals returned to activity after repeated short than repeated long anhydrobiosis episodes and older individuals were less likely to recover than younger individuals. In addition, more individuals were active after rehydration in groups than individually. The effect of sex was significant, but there was no general tendency for one sex to recover from anhydrobiosis better than the other one. The results contribute to a better understanding of the anhydrobiosis ability of Pam. experimentalis and provide background for evolutionary, molecular and environmental mechanisms of anhydrobiosis ability.