|The tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini|
Tardigrades have a cylindrical shape with four segments, each with two legs. Each of their limbs have little claws. The biggest adults may reach a body length of 1.2 mm, the smallest below 0.1 mm. Freshly hatched larvae may be smaller than 0.05 mm. Tardigrades feed on plant cells by penetrating the cell wall and eating what is inside. Some tardigrades are carnivores.
Tardigrades can be found in many habitats: in moss, freshwater, the Himalayas, and the ocean. They are one of the few animals that can be found on the highest mountains and the deepest seas. About 83 percent of the species live on land, the other 17 percent live in water.
Tardigrades are able to live in environments that would kill most animals. In 2007, scientists discovered that some tardigrades were able to survive 10 days in outer space. Tardigrades can survive more than ten years without water. Tardigrates can survive a few hours in temperatures close to absolute zero and above boiling point.
References[change | change source]
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- "Tardigrade (animal)". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/583460/tardigrade. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Jönsson, K. Ingema; Rabbow, Elke; Schill, Ralph O.; Harms-Ringdahl, Mats; Rettberg, Petra (9 September 2008). "Tardigrades survive exposure to space in low Earth orbit". Current Biology (Elsevier Ltd) 18 (17). ISSN R729-R731. http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2808%2900805-1. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
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|Wikispecies has an entry on: Tardigrada|