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Microdus Exiguus: The Tiny Moss with a Big Story

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Microdus exiguus: The Tiny Moss with a Big Story


When it comes to the world of mosses, there are countless fascinating species to discover. One particularly intriguing moss is


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Microdus exiguus (Schwägr.) Besch., a tiny but mighty member of the Dicranellaceae


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family. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of this diminutive plant and explore what makes it so special.


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Microdus exiguus is a species of moss that belongs to the Bryophyta division and Bryopsida class. The genus name Microdus comes from the Greek words “mikros” meaning small and “odous” meaning tooth, referring to the small teeth on the leaf margins. The species name


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exiguus means small or slender in Latin.

Morphology and Identification

One of the most notable features of M. exiguus is its extremely small size. The plants typically only reach 1-3 mm tall. The leaves are lanceolate in shape and have a costa (midrib) that extends to the leaf tip. Under a microscope, you can see small teeth along the upper leaf margins.
The capsules (spore-bearing structures) are ovoid


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to ellipsoid and borne on a seta (stalk) that is 2-5 mm long. The peristome (ring of teeth around the capsule mouth) is single with 16 teeth that are papillose (covered in small bumps).


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Global Distribution and Habitat

Microdus exiguus has a wide global distribution


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, found on every continent except Antarctica. It grows in a variety of habitats including soil, rocks, tree bases, and rotten logs in forests and disturbed areas. The moss is able to tolerate a fairly wide range of environmental conditions.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, M. exiguus plays important ecological roles. It helps prevent soil erosion, retains moisture, and provides habitat for micro-organisms. The small size of this moss allows it to grow in places where larger plants cannot, such as on the surface of a single pebble.
M. exiguus has several adaptations that allow it to thrive in its environment. The leaves have


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hair points that help collect and retain water droplets. The small, numerous leaves also increase the surface area for photosynthesis while minimizing water loss. Asexual reproduction via gemmae allows rapid colonization of disturbed habitats.


Microdus exiguus may be a tiny moss, but it has a fascinating story to tell. From its distinct morphological features to its widespread distribution and ecological importance, this unassuming plant deserves a closer look. The next time you’re out in nature, take a moment to appreciate the miniature world of mosses beneath your feet. You never know what amazing species like M. exiguus you might discover!

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