Thursday, November 28, 2013

Water Bears

The Amazing World of Water Bears

Illustrations Uwe Mayer, Ley Honor Roberts

The proper name of Water Bears is Tardigrades. There are millions of these cute little creatures all around you. But they’re only a fifth of a millimetre long. You need a microscope to see them. They like living in moss  (they’re known as “moss pigs” in America) and moist places. They eat moss  and they have eight stubby legs that end in claws so they can clamber about among the moss leaves.
The amazing thing about them is that they’re practically INDESTRUCTIBLE!  Their eggs can survive boiling water, being frozen in ice. They can survive in outer space without a space suit which we humans will never be able to do. 

This is what you'd see down your microscope. 

You can see the green moss this Water Bear has been eating inside him.

You can see the claws on the end of this Water Bear's stubby legs.

They're really lively. Watch this video of one wriggling about!

To see a fantastic (and slightly scary!)  electron microscope picture of a tardigrade and learn more about them click here.

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