Water bear (Paramacrobiotus kenianus). Color enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing a water bear. 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 tardigrade was found in moss samples from Kenya. 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: x225 when printed 10cm wide.
March 5th, 2013
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