Tardigrade

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Tardigrades (Goldstein Lab, UNC Chapel Hill)

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tardigrade : any of a phylum (Tardigrada) of microscopic invertebrates with four pairs of stout legs that live usually in water or damp moss — called also water bearWebster

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Tardigrade Tardigrades, also known colloquially as water bears, or moss piglets), are water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals. They were first discovered by the German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773. The name Tardigrada (meaning “slow stepper”) was given three years later by the Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani. They have been found everywhere: from mountain tops to the deep sea and mud volcanoes; from tropical rain forests to the Antarctic.

Tardigrades are one of the most resilient known animals, with individual species able to survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all other known life forms, such as exposure to extreme temperatures, extreme pressures (both high and low), air deprivation, radiation, dehydration, and starvation. About 1,150 known species form the phylum Tardigrada, a part of the superphylum Ecdysozoa. The group includes fossils dating from 530 million years ago, in the Cambrian period.

Usually, tardigrades are about 0.5 mm (0.02 in) long when they are fully grown. They are short and plump, with four pairs of legs, each with four to eight claws also known as “disks”. Tardigrades are prevalent in mosses and lichens and feed on plant cells, algae, and small invertebrates. When collected, they may be viewed under a very low-power microscope, making them accessible to students and amateur scientists. — Wikipedia

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  • Video: What makes tardigrades such great survivors
    on October 11, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Tardigrades are tiny animals that can live in water droplets just about anywhere. When those water droplets dry out, tardigrades undergo an astonishing transformation to survive the lack of water. […]

  • These Gummy Bear-looking things will inherit the...
    on July 27, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are microscopic animals that live basically everywhere on earth, from the hot springs atop the Himalayas to the icy tundra of Antarctica to —almost certainly —your backyard. […]

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  • New tardigrade species Macrobiotus shonaicus sp....
    on February 28, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    A new tardigrade species has been identified in Japan, according to a study published February 28, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daniel Stec from the Jagiellonian University, Poland, and colleagues. […]

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