Trivia Time! – Random Fact of the Day

I love learning random facts about random people, places, and things, so this will be a new segment where I share cool and hip information.

Today’s feature is…. *drum roll*

Tardigrade or “Slow stepper”:  Water bears aka Moss piglets 

Water Bear
Water bear (Macrobiotus sapiens) in moss. Color enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water bear in its active state. Water bears (or tardigrades) are tiny invertebrates that live in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as lichen and damp moss. They require water to obtain oxygen by gas exchange. In dry conditions, they can enter a cryptobiotic state of desiccation, known as a tun, to survive. In this state, water bears can survive for up to a decade. This species was found in moss samples from Croatia. It feeds on plant and animal cells. Water bears are found throughout the world, including regions of extreme temperature, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. They can also survive high levels of radiation and the vacuum of space. Magnification: x250 when printed 10cm wide.

The first time I saw this photo, I thought for certain someone invented and Photoshopped a fictional new species.  But THEY’RE REAL.

Fun Facts:

  1.  First discovered by German pastor Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773
  2. Go without food or water for potentially 30+ yrs
  3. Dry to <%3 water make up, then rehydrate, forage, and reproduce
  4. Withstand extreme temperature ranges from -458 degrees fahrenheit, or -272 Celsius, to 300 degrees fahrenheit, or 150 C
  5. Can withstand vacuum of open space and solar radiation combined for at least 10 days.
  6. Can withstand 6,000 atmospheres, such as the deepest known part of earth, the Mariana Trench
  7. Undergoes chemobiosis– cryptobiotic response = a sort of dormant state of halting all processes typical of life= reproduction, oxygen deficiency, metabolic processes
  8. NOT extremophiles because risk of death is in direct correlation with increased length of exposure to extreme environments

As you can see, it has six legs and looks hella funky and kind of cute.  Pretty inspirational and amazing how tiny but resilient they are!

What is your favorite rare or unconventional animal?