Halicephalobus mephisto


Rev 03/29/2022

Classification Biology and Ecology
Morphology and Anatomy Life Cycle

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Ecosystem Functions and Services

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Halicephalobus mephisto Borgonie et al., 2011.
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Morphology and Anatomy:

Although Halicephalobus species are morphologically similar, H. mephisto can is differentiated by the long tail (110—130 mm) and because the ovary tip is not reflexed. 

Halicephalobus mephisto - face view
from Borgonie et al., 2011.



Reported median body size for this species (Length mm; width micrometers; weight micrograms) - Click:


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Collected from the Beatrix gold mine, South Africa, at depths of 0.9-3.6 km in fracture water.

The fracture water in which the nematode is found is is 3,000-12,000 year old paleometeoric water per 14C analysis.

The nematodes are not detected in surface water used for mining operations.


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Feed on bacteria in biofilm patches in the fracture water.

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Biology and Ecology:



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Life Cycle:

Ecophysiological Parameters:

For Ecophysiological Parameters for this species, click If species level data are not available, click for genus level parameters


These subterranean nematodes tolerate high temperature.

Reproduce parthenogenically.


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Ecosystem Functions and Services:



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Borgonie, G., Garcia-Moyano, A. Litthauer, D., Bert, W., Bester, A., van Heerden, A., Muller,C., Erasmus, M., Onstott, T.C. 2011. Nematoda from the terrestrial deep subsurface of South Africa. Nature 474:79-82. 


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Copyright © 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: March 29, 2022 .