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Tardigrades are aquatic micro-animals that are also known as water bears or moss piglets due to their striking resemblance to eight-legged pandas and pygmy rhinoceroses and armadillos respectively. They are free-living invertebrates, belonging to the phylum Tardigrada. They were discovered by a German Pastor, Johann August Ephraim Goeze, who gave them their name meaning “slow steppers”.
See the fact file below for more information on the tardigrades or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Tardigrade worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- They are about 0.05 millimeters to 1.2 millimeters in length.
- They are translucent. With the help of the dissecting microscope of 20 to 30 magnification power, they appear like miniature animals.
- Their body is divided into five sections: a well-defined head and four fused body segments.
- Each body segment has a pair of short, stout, unjoined legs.
- Their feet have four to eight sharp claws.
- The first three pairs of legs are directed downwards, used for the purpose of locomotion.
- The last and fourth pair of legs is attached backward on the last segment of trunk for the purpose of grasping and slow-motion acrobatics.
- Its mouth can telescope outward to uncover sharp teeth that are utilized to take hold of sustenance.
- They have a life structure and physiology similar to that of higher animals.
- They have a full nutritious waterway (alimentary canal) and a digestive system.
- It includes a mouth and a sucking pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, intestines, and anus.
- They have well-developed muscles yet just a solitary gonad.
- They have a dorsal brain on a paired ventral sensory (nervous) system.
- The body cavity is an open hemocoel that contacts each cell, permitting proficient nourishment and gas trade with no requirement for circulatory or respiratory frameworks.
- They are found almost everywhere, from the Arctic to the equator, from intertidal zones to the deep ocean, and even forest canopies.
- Specifically, they are found on mosses and lichens, in sand dunes, soil, and leaf litter.
- Tardigrades can withstand situations as cold as -328°F (less 200°C) or as high as 300°F (148.9°C).
- They can endure radiation, boiling liquids, enormous pressure of up to six times the pressure at the depth of oceans, and even a vacuum.
- Water bears feed on fluids.
- They have stylets which enable them to penetrate plants’ cell wall and animals’ cell membranes.
- A sucking pharyngeal globule empowers them to then ingest the internal contents of their food. A few types of water bears are known to eat whole live life forms, for example, rotifers and different tardigrades.
- Tardigrades show extraordinary reactions, gathered under the general name of cryptobiosis: Anhydrobiosis and Cryobiosis.
- They survive by going into a nearly death-like state called Anhydrobiosis. They twist into a dried out ball, called a Tun, by withdrawing their head and legs. Whenever reintroduced to water, the tardigrade can return to life in only a couple of hours.
- While in cryobiosis, tardigrades undergo freezing. Their metabolic rate gets as low as 0.01 percent of the normal rate, and their organs are protected by a sugary gel called trehalose.
- They also deliver a protein that shields their DNA from radiation harm.
- In chilly temperatures, they synthesize cryoprotectant that prevents the development of ice crystals.
- They additionally have another safeguard for when they are in water. When the water they live in has oxygen deficiency, they will extend and reduce their metabolic rate. In this state, their muscles produce oxygen.
- Tardigrades reproduce both through sexual and asexual reproduction.
- They lay 30 eggs at a time.
- Numerous tardigrades of moss, lichen, and leaf litter are parthenogenetic, delivering eggs without mating, and in a couple of cases are hermaphroditic (bisexual), ready to develop without fertilization.
- A solitary yet active tardigrade, being carried by wind might have the capacity to build up a populace where it lands if the habitat provides favourable conditions.
- Moreover, specimens kept for eight days in a vacuum, then three days in helium gas at room temperature, and after that placed for a few hours in a temperature of −272°C (−458°F) are cultivated again when they are returned to ordinary room temperature.
- 60% of specimens kept for 21 months in fluid air at a temperature of −190°C (−310°F) needed additional resuscitation.
- Tardigrades are effectively carried by wind and water while in the tun state.
Do you know Classification of Tardigrades?
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Subkingdom: Bilateria
- Infrakingdom: Protostomia
- Superphylum: Ecdysozoa
- Phylum: Tardigrada
- The Tardigrade phylum branches out into:
- 3 classes
- 5 orders
- 20 families
- 15 subfamilies
- 105 genera
- 4 subgenera
- 1,018 species
- 67 subspecies
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about tardigrade across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Tardigrade worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the tardigrades which are aquatic micro-animals that are also known as water bears or moss piglets.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Tardigrade Facts
- Parts of Tardigrade
- Vocabulary Practice
- Correcting the statements
- Water Bears
- Finding Tardigrades
- Defense Mechanism
- Tardigrade Trivia Game
- Missing Facts
- My Tardigrade Essay
- Missing Letters
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Link will appear as Tardigrade Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 4, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.