The Antarctic Peninsula is an extremely harsh place to live. Air temperatures can range from -34 to 10 degrees Celsius, winds are very fast, the summer growing season is really short, air is dry, and pH can range from 3 to 12 (partly because of Adélie penguin waste). Yet several small invertebrates are at home here.

There’s Belgica antarctica, a wingless midge thatsurvives having all its bodily fluids frozen, and can tolerate dehydration of up to 35% of its body weight. It lives for two years in order to accumulate enough energy during the short growing seasons.

Cryptopygus antarcticus is a springtailthat lives for three or more years before it gathers up enough energy to reproduce. It also floats on water due to it hydrophobic exoskeleton, and supercools to -30 Celsius.

Ixodes uriae: a tick that only has to feed once a year, lives for three years and tolerates temperatures as low as -30, and as high as 40 Celsius (blood temperature of some seabirds).

Alaskozetes antarcticus: A non-parasitic mite that can supercool to sub-zero temperatures and develops for 5-7 years.


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