Shrinking World!

If you remember I told you about looking for tardigrades on lichens. Well, I continued to look. And then it was just getting a technique that worked. For me the trick was too soak the lichen for 24 plus hours. Then squeeze a small piece of lichen to get a drop of water onto the slide. Now don’t think that I got one each time. Sometimes it took multiple drops to find them. But it was totally worth it. 🙂

Studying the claws, I believe this is mostly like Milnesium tardigradum. At the very least in the Milnesium genus. So there two single claws and two forked claws on each foot. So I started the search using this key in the paper
(Tardigrada, Eutardigrada) presently known from European soils. In the My Waterbears
Tardigrade Reference Center
, this species was the most common species for North America. This species was in fact one of the species that went to space in 2008. Additionally other “organisms which provide nourishment for tardigrades (e.g. bacteria, algae, rotifers or nematodes) are just as resistant as water bears (Guidetti and Jönsson 2002; Rettberg et al. 2002; Islam and Schulze-Makuch 2007; Meeßen et al. 2013).” Sure sounds like these creatures could be adaptable to another planet, eh.

Its water world was evaporating.
Shrinking further.
The tun (suspended animation)! You can still see the claws extending out.

Of course I had to make a movie of the process. 🙂

Tardigrade Genes Reveal a Strange History of Their Crazy Survival Skills

Tardigrades in Space

Paleontologists Discover Two New Shark Species From Fossils in Mammoth Cave National Park

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


  1. Found this on their position in the “tree of life”
    Taxonomists divide life on Earth into three domains: Bacteria, Archaea (an ancient line of bacterialike cells without nuclei that are likely closer in evolutionary terms to organisms with nucleated cells than to bacteria), and Eukarya. Eukarya is divided into four kingdoms: Protista, Plantae, Fungi and Animalia. Phylum Tardigrada is one of the 36 phyla (roughly, depending on whom one asks) within Animalia—making water bears a significantly distinctive branch on the tree of life.

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