Limnognathia maerski lives between the mosses in the cold spring at Isunngua, Disko Island. Using its ventral ciliation (see SEM picture) it may either swim (see swimming animal on picture) or glide slowly on the moss leafs, looking for food. Its main diet is bacteria, blue-green algae and diatoms. During the search for food, the head is moved slowly and rhythmic from side to side while the cilia on the forehead beat the food particles towards the mouth. When a food item reaches the mouth it is quickly grabbed by the ventral jaws.
L. maerski appears to prefer cold temperatures. The spring at Isunngua is most years frozen from October to May and during the short summer the average temperature is about 8oC. In the summer period it has to eat and reproduce before the water freezes again. Adult individuals cannot survive the winter, thus they have to produce thick-shelled resting eggs that can tolerate freezing.
Last update: 30 maj 2007
Responsible editor for this page: Martin V. Sørensen