A Conversation for SEx - Science Explained

Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 1

Karen Wingoof

Tardigrades are my new favorite creatures. Does anybody know where I can find these little guys? I know they're really teeny, but I should be able to see them without a microscope, right? Do they live in every part of the world? I live in the mossy Pacific Northwest of the U.S. - should I be able to find them in my back yard?


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 2

Titania (gone for lunch)

I had to google it, because I didn't know what it is.

'They actually prefer regular old dirt and sand and moss all over the world.'

Quoted from this article, with a very cute photo at the very top:
http://www.wired.com/2014/03/absurd-creature-week-water-bear/

Also, from the same article:

'Ironically enough, these incredibly hardy creatures are very difficult to grow in the lab'


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 3

Titania (gone for lunch)

How silly of me, I should have searched h2g2 first:

http://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A827282


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 4

fords - number 1 all over heaven

Puddles, muck, sand...you name it, they're there!


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 5

Karen Wingoof

Thank you! I just now found the responses here! I had no idea anyone had actually answered my question... smiley - smiley

And I didn't know that h2g2 had already talked about this. Great article. This part was new information for me: "Water bears feed on the fluids in plant and animal cells. Sometimes they eat entire other organisms, like rotifers and even, on occasion, other water bears. They can pierce the walls or membranes of cells and they possess a tube to eat the internal contents of their prey."

I had no idea the little fellows were cannibals!!!


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 6

hygienicdispenser

Yes Karen, you should be able to find several tardigrades in your back yard. Though they are sometimes cannibals their favourite food is fajitas (though not *too* spicy). Sit out back with a fajita or, if you're pushed, a quesadilla, and whistle gently, and pretty soon you'll have two or even three water bears of your very own to cuddle and pet and show off to your friends.


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 7

Karen Wingoof

I'm thinking a moss-covered fajita would probably be best, right?


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 8

hygienicdispenser

I managed to find a "hunt your own tardigrades" guide right here:

http://tardigrade.us/how-to-articles/how-to-find-tardigrades/

It's nowhere near as much fun as growing moss on fajitas, but it may well have slightly better results.


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 9

Karen Wingoof

hygienicdispenser - Thank you! That is exactly what I needed - step-by-step directions. I've got the lichen and the moss - now all I need is the microscope... smiley - smiley


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 10

fords - number 1 all over heaven

What a waste of a fajita...


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 11

ITIWBS

Tardigrades are often classified with the arachnids since after their second moult they have eight legs.

On the other hand they have six legs after the first moult and when they first hatch from the egg, four.*

I personally think that they're something more primal.

To me, they look like little caterpillars, but they never metamorphose into a hard shelled arthropod.




They've been reported aboard the International Space Station and other spacecraft.




*There may be a clue here to the 2legs mystery.


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 12

YoginiAmy

Well, you do need at least a light microscope to see them. I accidentally discovered one when I picked up some moss to look at under my microscope. I was taking a class in the general types of organisms on Earth and I got a microscope so I would have more time to look at different microscopic things than we were afforded at the laboratory.

Anyway, I picked up this bit of moss and put it under the microscope only to see the Tardigrade busily eating other microscopic organisms and a few moss cells. I probably watched it for an hour or so before I had to go to class again. I put the slide in the refrigerator because I wanted to look at it again later.

When I got home, I took the slide out and found that the fridge only slowed the Tardigrade down. My fridge is really cold (since I like a good cold beer) so the Tardigrade had slowed down so much that it's heart-like organ wasn't pumping as far as I could tell. As the light from the microscope warmed it up, its little heart organ began to pump faster. It's weird because you can kind of see right through them so you can see their internal organs working, particularly the heart-like organ. I say heart-like because its heart is actually more like a tube that propels all its body fluids around. This includes all kinds of other particles that it must have eaten. They are weird and definitely worth putting under a microscope. The only other organism that I was equally amazed by was the amoeba that I watched trying to escape the hot microscope light by sticking part of its cell membrane out and getting the rest of its cellular contents to flow that way. Seeing that was also a trip. Of course, pretty much anything you put under a microscope is cool, even table salt!


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 13

Xanatic

They've recently discovered that tardigrades also live in Antarctica.


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 14

ITIWBS

I'm unsurprised.

Mitey Earth!


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 15

ITIWBS

One of the most common types of tardigrades is the common housemite, commonly found wherever there are accumulations of household dust.

I happen to know about them because I'm allergic to that variety and prone to double over gasping, choking, wheezing, retching and vomiting if I'm exposed to them.

Another type lives in the follicles of human eyelashes and helps to keep them free of waxy or oily buildups.


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 16

Karen Wingoof

Yoginamy - wow! Thank you for your post!Fantastic description of what you saw under the microscope! (I liked you description of the amoeba's attempt to escape the hot microscope light, too - fascinating stuff!)


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 17

Gnomon - time to move on

Mites are a type of arthropod, related to spiders, crabs and insects. Tardigrades are not mites. They're a different thing entirely, not related to arthropods or any other type of creature.


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 18

Karen Wingoof

Mites?! Tardigrades are mites?!! Well, that is kind of a disappointment...


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 19

Gnomon - time to move on

No, I just said they're not mites.


Where can I find tardigrades?

Post 20

Nameless Stealth Wobo

Those things creep me out!smiley - lurk


Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more