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Facts About Tardigrades Tardigrades, often called water bears or moss piglets, are near-microscopic animals with long, plump bodies and scrunched-up heads. They have eight legs, and hands with four to eight claws on each. While strangely cute, these tiny animals are almost indestructible and can even survive in outer space. Tardigrade is a phylum, a high-level scientific category of animal. (Humans belong in the Chordate phylum — animals with spinal cords.) There are over 1,000 known species within Tardigrade, according to Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Size These creatures look like the hookah-smoking caterpillar from "Alice in Wonderland." They can range from 0.05 millimeters to 1.2 mm (0.002 to 0.05 inches) long, but they usually don't get any bigger than 1 mm (0.04 inches) long. Habitat Water bears can live just about anywhere. They prefer to live in sediment at the bottom of a lake, on moist pieces of moss or other wet environments. They can survive a wide range of temperatures and situations. Research has found that tardigrades can withstand environments as cold as minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 200 Celsius) or highs of more than 300 degrees F (148.9 C), according to Smithsonian magazine . They can also survive radiation, boiling liquids, massive amounts of pressure of up to six times the pressure of the deepest part of the ocean and even the vacuum of space without any protection. A 2008 study
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  • Spring '17
  • Jane Smith
  • Vacuum, Annelid, trehalose, Cryptobiosis, Tardigrade

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