Tardigrade

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Water Bears belong to a lesser known phylum of invertebrate animals, the Tardigrada. The first tardigrades were discovered by Goetz in 1773. Over 400 species have been described since that time.

Tardigrades grow only to a size of about 1mm, but they can easily be seen with a microscope. Tardigrade bodies are short, plump, and contain four pairs of lobopodial limbs (poorly articulated limbs which are typical of soft bodied animals). Each limb terminates in four to eight claws or discs. They lumber about in a slow bear-like gait over sand grains or pieces of plant material.

Tardigrade facts.

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A tardigrade (waterbear) hatching. 

Tardigrades reproduce sexually and females lay eggs. She’ll actually shed her skin first and then lay her eggs inside of it. The babies then hatch from their eggs and then have to crawl out of the skin husk. Fun fact: tardigrades are born with the same number of cells as their adult counterparts - their cells just get bigger as they age. 

Tardigrades may be the toughest animals on earth

The Tardigrade or “Waterbear” is a tiny (0.5 mm or0.020 in) animal that inhabits mosses and ferns. The Tardigrade has existed on earth for half a billion years and it is known as an extremophile, meaning it can survive conditions that would kill nearly any other living creature.

Tardigrades can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and they can survive the vacuum of outer space.

They can also go without food or water for more than 10 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to re-hydrate and come back to life..

The impressive abilities make the Tardigrade one of the most indestructible animals on earth.

Fathom the Universe

Read more: http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2014/03/19/5-reasons-why-the-tardigrade-is-natures-toughest-animal/

TARDIGRADE

[noun]

1. any slow moving creature.

2. also called bear animalcule, water bear: any microscopic, chiefly herbivorous invertebrate of the phylum Tardigrada, living in water, on mosses, lichens, etc.

[adjective]

3. slow in pace or movement.

4. belonging or pertaining to the phylum Tardigrada.

Etymology: via Latin tardigradus, from tardus (sluggish) + gradī (to walk).

[Adam Dunt]

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Tardigrades (Water Bears/Moss Piglets): 

These ambling, eight-legged microscopic “bears of the moss” are cute, ubiquitous, all but indestructible and a model organism for education

by William R. Miller

The young woman in my office doorway is inquiring about the summer internship I am offering. What’s a tardigrade? she asks…

Tardigrades, I reply, are microscopic, aquatic animals found just about everywhere on Earth. Terrestrial species live in the interior dampness of moss, lichen, leaf litter and soil; other species are found in fresh or salt water.

They are commonly known as water bears, a name derived from their resemblance to eight-legged pandas. Some call them moss piglets and they have also been compared to pygmy rhinoceroses and armadillos. On seeing them, most people say tardigrades are the cutest invertebrate.

At one time water bears were candidates to be the main model organism for studies of development. That role is now held most prominently by the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, the object of study for the many distinguished researchers following in the trail opened by Nobel Prize laureate Sydney Brenner, who began working on C. elegans in 1974. Water bears offer the same virtues that have made C. elegans so valuable for developmental studies: physiological simplicity, a fast breeding cycle and a precise, highly patterned development plan…

(read more: American Scientist)

images: Eye of Science/Photo Researchers and Dr. David J. Patterson/Photo Researchers. Illustration at bottom by Tom Dunne, adapted from a figure by the author.

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WATER BEARS ACTIVE & DORMANT
WATER BEAR EGGS
Water bears (or tardigrades) are tiny invertebrates that live in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as lichen and damp moss. They require water to obtain oxygen by gas exchange. However, in dry conditions, they can enter a cryptobiotic state of dessication, known as a tun, to survive. In this state, water bears can survive for up to a decade. 

Water bears are found throughout the world, including regions of extreme temperature, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. They can also survive high levels of radiation and the vacuum of space. 

[1] Water Bear welcomes you.

[2] Water bear tun
(Milnesium alpigenum - formerly Milnesium tardigradum). Color enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water bear in its dormant state, known as a tun.

Milnesium alpigenum is a carnivore that feeds on nematodes, rotifers and protozoa. This specimen originated from moss samples in Tubingen, Germany.

Magnification: x833 when viewed 10cm wide  |  (via Science Source)

[3] Egg of water bear Paramacrobiotus richtersi
color enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM).

This egg was found in moss samples from Tubingen, Germany.

Magnification: x833 when viewed 10cm wide  (via Science Source)

[4] Egg of water bear Macrobiotus sapiens
close up color enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM).

This egg was found in moss samples from Croatia.

Magnification: x4800 when viewed 10cm wide. (via Science Source)

[5] Egg of water bear Paramacrobiotus kenianus.
Color enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM)

This egg was found in moss samples from Kenya.

Magnification: x3333 when viewed10cm wide (via Science Source)

[6] Water Bear says goodbye as you go to the next post.

In this week’s Valentine’s Day card, we present to you the tardigrade. This tiny creature - the largest among them maxing out at around 1.5 mm -  is able to survive in the vacuum of outer space, and can withstand thousands of times more radiation than other animals. It can also survive at temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and -458 F. Even if there’s no water around, the tardigrade lives on. It simply dehydrates itself to 3 percent of its normal water content in a process known as desiccation, and springs back to life once it encounters water. 

This is all to say that, if someone’s love for you is as intense as the tardigrade, that’s quite a compliment. Stay tuned for more Valentine’s Day cards for science lovers, and see previous cards here

The water bear (or tardigrade, or moss piglet (!)) is a water-dwelling micro-animal (0.020 inches in length) found often in mosses and lichens. 
It can go without food or water for more than 10 years, and can survive temperatures from around absolute zero to above 100 degrees Celsius, pressures 6 times greater than those found in deep ocean trenches, radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than will kill a human, and the vacuum of space.

SMALLER ON THE INSIDE  A millimeter-long tardigrade is seen walking on a piece of moss in this color-enhanced electron micrograph.  Tardigrades are small, water-dwellling animals, part of a group called “polyextremophiles” — organisms that are known to be able to go for decades without food or water; survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water; to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors; and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations. Hell, these things have even survived being stuck outside a space shuttle launched into orbit.  Also, the producers at Dr. Who need to make them into villains for an episode or two, right quick.  Before they kill us all.  (Photo: Nicole Ottawa & Oliver Meckes / Eye of Science / Science Source Images via NASA APOD)


(HAT TIP to fellow Tumblrer hairoffizz, who asks of the creature, “Are you my mummy?”  Heh.)

Water Bears (phylum Tardigrada) are some bad-ass die-hard polyextremophiles, known to withstand temperatures close to absolute zero, 1,000 times more radiation than any other animal, nearly a decade without water, and even the vacuum of space. (via: To Be Fused)

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Water Bears — Tardigrades
— an animal built on only a few hundred cells.

Tardigrades are polyextremophiles.  (An extremophile is an organism that can thrive in a physically or geochemically extreme condition, one that would be detrimental to most life on Earth.)

  • Tardigrades can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water,
  • pressures about 6 times stronger than pressures found in the deepest ocean trenches,
  • ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than would kill a person,
  • and the vacuum of outer space.

They can go without food or water for nearly 120 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.  [Wikipedia]
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IMAGES
Tardigr E granul — 700x 
This water bear lives in moss and awakens, as it were, when the moss gets wet. It feeds on moss by sucking the cells off. If the moss becomes dry, the water bear will sense this and encapsulate itself.  If necessary, it can wait for years until the next rain.

Tardigr Pm kenianus — 300x 
This tardigrade, first discovered in Africa, feeds on bacteria and protozoans.

Both images courtesy of Oliver Meckes  (via FEI)

So typette and I seem to share a special place in our hearts for tardigrades and also similar artwork. This is all really coincidental and kinda strange but typette has been really gracious and non-accusatory. So you should totally check her out whilst I try to validate myself and put up my own sketches as some sort of proof that I independently thought of this and so did she.

If any of you would be interested in buying a plushie of this than please go here and vote!