Have you ever wondered if there is such thing as an immortal entity? Well, the tardigrade can be your best answer. Despite the fact that it is extremely microscopic, or small, they are really tough creatures. The tardigrade, also known as the water bear is an animal that can survive life-threatening events, such as explosions, hunger, thirst, and even space. It was discovered in 1775 by J.A.E Goeze. However, they are not completely immortal; they can still die.
Tardigrades go into a process called cryptobiosis. Cryptobiosis is when an animal or living object, such as the tardigrade, reduces or completely stops metabolic activity, like reproduction and development. This allows plants and animals with this capability to survive. Without this state in action the tardigrade can die. Tardigrades live in aquatic spots normally, but it can live anywhere. It is just more adapted to water environment. If not found in the water, they can commonly be found in beaches, soil, moss, and ferns.
In addition, even though they don’t necessarily need to eat, they still do. Tardigrades “eat” the fluids from plant cells, animal cells, bacteria, and sometimes other tardigrades. Surprisingly, the tardigrade can go as much as 10 years without food and water. Some of the tardigrade’s predators include nematodes, mites, other tardigrades, springtails, spiders, amoebas, and a few others. It makes sense the amount of predators it has due to the microscopic size of it.
Tardigrades have been on earth for over 530 million years and are still here today. There are 1,000 species of tardigrades. They are resistant to low and high temperatures, space, dehydration, hunger, and many more. Overall, the tardigrade, or water bear, is an extremely unique creature.
Citations: serc.carleton.edu, sun.iwu.edu
By: Alex Arevalo
Photo Credits: https://www.youtube.com