Life

Facts About Tardigrades

The most resilient animals known to us.
Jul 10, 2021 · 3 min read
Sampath AmitashSampath AmitashScience Writer at FROMTBOT
A Tardigrade is a tiny, eight-legged animal that is extremely popular for its resiliency. © FROMTBOT.
A Tardigrade is a tiny, eight-legged animal that is extremely popular for its resiliency. © FROMTBOT.
Table of Contents
  1. What are Tardigrades?
  2. Biological Classification
  3. Interesting Facts About Tardigrades
  4. How do Tardigrades Reproduce?
  5. References

What are Tardigrades?

Tardigrades are a group of tiny, eight-legged animals commonly called water bears or moss piglets. There are around 1300 known species of tardigrades. They are known to be extremely resilient and can even live in adverse conditions such as extreme temperatures and pressure. However, they are not immortal (Jönsson et al., 2019).

Biological Classification

Tardigrades are classified as follows:

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Subkingdom: Eumetazoa
Superphylum: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Tardigrada

Interesting Facts About Tardigrades

A species of Tardigrades found in Antarctica.

Real photograph of a species of Tardigrade found in Antarctica. Credit: Tsujimoto et al., 2016.

Photograph of a tardigrade from a light microscope.

Photograph of a tardigrade from a light microscope. © Philippe Garcelon.

A terrestrial Tardigrade in two metabolic states, the normal state and the Tun-state.

Light microscope photograph of a terrestrial Tardigrade showing the different metabolic states. The hydrated active state is preferred when environmental conditions are favourable. On the contrary, when environmental conditions are stressful, the Tun state, which is a metabolically inactive state, is preferred. Credit: Møjberg and Neves, 2021.

How do Tardigrades Reproduce?

Tardigrades reproduce both asexually and sexually, depending on the species. During sexual reproduction, female tardigrades lay eggs which are then fertilised by the males. During asexual reproduction, the eggs laid by females develop into adults without fertilisation.

So those were some interesting facts about tardigrades. Do you know some facts about them that I missed? Let us know in the comments section below.e were some interesting facts about tardigrades. Do you know some facts about them that I missed? Let us know in the comments section below.

References

  1. K. Jönsson, I. Holm and H. Tassidis, Cell Biology of the Tardigrades: Current Knowledge and Perspectives. Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation. 231-249 (2019). 10.1007/978-3-030-23459-1_10. context
  2. M. Roszkowska et al., Tips and tricks how to culture water bears: simple protocols for culturing eutardigrades (Tardigrada) under laboratory conditions. The European Zoological Journal. 88, 449-465 (2021). 10.1080/24750263.2021.1881631. context
  3. D. Sloan, R. Alves Batista and A. Loeb, The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events. Scientific Reports. 7, (2017). 10.1038/s41598-017-05796-x. context
  4. K. Jönsson et al., Tardigrades survive exposure to space in low Earth orbit. Current Biology. 18, R729-R731 (2008). 10.1016/j.cub.2008.06.048. context
  5. J. O'Callaghan, Hardy water bears survive bullet impacts—up to a point. Science. (2021). 10.1126/science.abj5282. context
  6. T. Boothby et al., Tardigrades Use Intrinsically Disordered Proteins to Survive Desiccation. Molecular Cell. 65, 975-984.e5 (2017). 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.02.018. context
  7. M. Tsujimoto, S. Imura and H. Kanda, Recovery and reproduction of an Antarctic tardigrade retrieved from a moss sample frozen for over 30 years. Cryobiology. 72, 78-81 (2015). 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2015.12.003. context
  8. H. Suma, S. Prakash and S. Eswarappa, Naturally occurring fluorescence protects the eutardigradeParamacrobiotussp. from ultraviolet radiation. Biology Letters. 16, 20200391 (2020). 10.1098/rsbl.2020.0391. context
  9. N. Møbjerg and R. Neves, New insights into survival strategies of tardigrades. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. 254, 110890 (2020). 10.1016/j.cbpa.2020.110890. context
  10. B. Goldstein and M. Blaxter, Tardigrades. Current Biology. 12, R475 (2002). 10.1016/s0960-9822(02)00959-4. context
  11. T. Boothby et al., Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112, 15976-15981 (2015). 10.1073/pnas.1510461112. context

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