Aquatic tardigrades in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee, U.S.A., with the description of a new species of Thulinius (Tardigrada, Isohypsibiidae)

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As part of the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (http://www.dlia.org), an extensive survey of tardigrades has been conducted in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) in Tennessee and North Carolina, U.S.A., by Bartels and Nelson. Freshwater tardigrades include three species in the aquatic genus Thulinius (Eutardigrada, Isohypsibiidae). A new species, Thulinius romanoi, described from stream sediment, is distinguished from all other congeners by having a sculptured cuticle. In addition, the presence of Thulinius augusti (Murray, 1907) was verified by combined morphological and molecular analysis, and nine specimens of a third species, Thulinius cf. saltursus, were also found. Thulinius augusti is a new record for the United States. Thulinius saltursus (Schuster, Toftner & Grigarick, 1978) was previously recorded in California and Ohio, but our specimens vary slightly in morphology. The list of tardigrades from streams in the GSMNP was updated to a total of 44 species, 22 of which were predominantly or exclusively aquatic.