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Syntrichia caninervis

3rd July, 2024 Environment

Syntrichia caninervis

Source: Wion

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  • 'Syntrichia caninervis,' a desert moss, shows extraordinary resilience to extreme conditions, making it a potential candidate for space exploration and extraterrestrial colonization.


Key Points

  • Desert moss 'Syntrichia caninervis' identified as highly resilient to conditions suitable on Mars.
  • It helps in space exploration and establishing sustainable habitats on Mars.
  • Resilience Factors:
    • Tolerates drought
    • Temperatures as low as −196°C
    • High gamma radiation.
  • It surpasses highly stress-tolerant microorganisms.

Syntrichia caninervis

  • Known for:
    • These are known for extreme resilience.
  • Global Distribution:
    • It is found in severe desert environments like Tibet, Antarctica and circumpolar regions.
  • Significance in Space Exploration:
    • It has potential use in establishing sustainable habitats on Mars.
    • Superior environmental resilience compared to highly stress-resistant microorganisms and tardigrades.
    • It has shown remarkable regeneration ability after exposure to extreme conditions.


  • Characteristics:
    • It is a non-vascular plant found in moist and shady environments.
    • It lacks true roots and possess simple leaves & stems.
    • It can reproduce via spores instead of seeds.
  • Ecological Importance:
    • It helps in soil formation and prevent erosion.
    • It acts as bioindicators of environmental health.
    • It provides suitable habitat for microorganisms and small invertebrates.
  • Distribution and Habitats:
    • It is widely distributed from tropical rainforest to arctic tundra.
    • It can thrive in diverse environments including forests, wetlands and deserts.
  • Role in Ecosystems:
    • It plays a crucial role in water retention and nutrient cycling.
    • It forms symbiotic relationships with fungi and bacteria.




Q. Consider the following statements regarding Syntrichia caninervis:

1.Syntrichia caninervis is a desert moss known for its extreme drought tolerance.

2.It has demonstrated the ability to survive temperatures as low as -196°C and high levels of gamma radiation.

3.It primarily thrives in tropical rainforests and wetlands.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2 only

c) 2 and 3 only

d) 1, 2, and 3

Answer: b)