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Titaniloricus inexpectatovus
Distribucion de Titaniloricus inexpectatovus derivado 2013 000.jpg
Type locality of T. inexpectatovus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Loricifera
Order: Nanaloricida
Family: Pliciloricidae
Genus: Titaniloricus
Gad, 2005 [1]
Species:T. inexpectatovus
Binomial name
Titaniloricus inexpectatovus
Gad, 2005 [1]

Titaniloricus is a genus of small marine animal in the phylum Loricifera. It contains a single species, Titaniloricus inexpectatovus, described by Gunnar Gad in 2005. [1] It has been collected from the abyssal plain in Angolan waters of the Atlantic Ocean. [2]

In biology, a phylum is a level of classification or taxonomic rank below Kingdom and above Class. Traditionally, in botany the term division has been used instead of phylum, although the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants accepts the terms as equivalent. Depending on definitions, the animal kingdom Animalia or Metazoa contains approximately 35 phyla, the plant kingdom Plantae contains about 14, and the fungus kingdom Fungi contains about 8 phyla. Current research in phylogenetics is uncovering the relationships between phyla, which are contained in larger clades, like Ecdysozoa and Embryophyta.

Loricifera phylum of very small to microscopic marine sediment-dwelling animals

Loricifera is a phylum of very small to microscopic marine cycloneuralian sediment-dwelling animals with 37 described species, in nine genera. Aside from these described species, there are approximately 100 more that have been collected and not yet described. Their sizes range from 100 µm to ca. 1 mm. They are characterised by a protective outer case called a lorica and their habitat, which is in the spaces between marine gravel to which they attach themselves. The phylum was discovered in 1983 by Roberto Ramos, in Roscoff, France. They are among the most recently discovered groups of Metazoans. They attach themselves quite firmly to the substrate, and hence remained undiscovered for so long. The first specimen was collected in the 1970s, and later described in 1983. They are found at all depths, in different sediment types, and in all latitudes.

Angola country in Africa

Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.



The generic name is derived from the Latin words titanis (meaning giant) and titanes (rare), in reference to the relatively large size of the larvae in this genus compared to other Loricifera, and their rarity (the taxon is not known from elsewhere than its type locality). The specific name is derived from the Latin inexspectatus (surprise) and ovum (egg), as the larvae are like chocolate eggs that contain small surprises. [1]

In zoological nomenclature, the specific name is the second part within the scientific name of a species. The first part of the name of a species is the name of the genus or the generic name. The rules and regulations governing the giving of a new species name are explained in the article species description.


The type series consists mostly of sixth instar Higgins-larvae. These have are relatively large and have a stubby body. The introvert is retracted, the thorax is long and extendable, with many foldable cuticular plates. The lorica is rounded and barrel-like. When the body is fully extended, the animal is expected to measure more than 800 μm. [1]


An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each moult (ecdysis), until sexual maturity is reached. Arthropods must shed the exoskeleton in order to grow or assume a new form. Differences between instars can often be seen in altered body proportions, colors, patterns, changes in the number of body segments or head width. After moulting, i.e. shedding their exoskeleton, the juvenile arthropods continue in their life cycle until they either pupate or moult again. The instar period of growth is fixed; however, in some insects, like the salvinia stem-borer moth, the number of instars depends on early larval nutrition. Some arthropods can continue to moult after sexual maturity, but the stages between these subsequent moults are generally not called instars.

First instar Higgins-larvae, resembling sixth instar Higgins-larvae but smaller, were found inside the holotype. Also a paedogenetic seventh instar larva, with simplified body, was found inside a sixth instar Higgins-larva. [1]

One adult specimen is tentatively ascribed to this species. The lorica is 140 μm in length and 80 μm in width. The total length is assumed to be about 230 μm, that is, less than the sixth instar Higgins-larva. [1]


The type series was collected with a multi-corer from stations at 5,389–5,427 m (17,680–17,805 ft) depth. The samples represent the upper 5 cm of the bottom substrate, well-oxygenated mud. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Gad, G. (18 February 2005). "Giant Higgins-larvae with paedogenetic reproduction from the deep sea of the Angola Basin – evidence for a new life cycle and for abyssal gigantism in Loricifera?". Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 5: 59–75. doi:10.1016/j.ode.2004.10.005.
  2. WoRMS (2015). "Titaniloricus inexpectatovus Gad, 2005". World Register of Marine Species . Retrieved 10 March 2017.