Emma at Modest Fish heard about my mini obsession with tardigrades – also known more fondly as water bears – and sent me this great article to share:
You may have heard of water bears and wondered if they’re really as amazing as people make them out to be. As someone who has personally worked with Tardigrades in the lab, I can confirm that, not only are they fascinating, they’re adorable too. And, in this article, I’m going to show you what sets them apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.
What Is A Tardigrade?
The name Tardigrade literally means “slow steppers.” But they’re most commonly known as water bears due to their walking gait resembling that of a bear.
They have eight legs, three pairs for walking and one pair for grasping, each ending in claws. So far, more than 1,150 species of Tardigrade have been discovered, and counting.
A Tardigrade’s lifespan varies from species to species. In terms of their natural lifespan, some live a few months, while others can live for up to 2 years.
But they can also go into a dormant state which stretches their lifespan even further. In this state, they can go more than 30 years without any food or water.