Tardigrade

Discuss natural history subjects not strictly related to birds. Reports of interesting mammal, reptile, and invertebrate sightings are welcome.
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David Riddell
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Tardigrade

Postby David Riddell » Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:40 pm

Found my first tardigrade today - very cool animal. I always figured I'd stumble across one some day but never did, so this morning I took a bit of moss that was growing in the gutter on our roof, which I'd heard was a good place to hunt, and picked through it under a 20x binocular microscope. Amongst the rotifers, nematodes and occasional insect larva was precisely one tardigrade - pale brown with darker markings and eight stumpy little legs, although the hind pair pointed backwards and were hard to pick out. Was surprised how active it was - the name means 'slow walker' and it certainly didn't make rapid progress across the moss, but its legs were going flat out. It was also surprisingly flexible - they always look very stiff in photos.

For those not familiar with these amazing and surprisingly cute little beasts (a.k.a. 'water bears' and 'moss piglets') there's a good if slightly cheesy video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVNpSeutk2I
Olwen
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Re: Tardigrade

Postby Olwen » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:41 pm

Thanks for this - I'd never heard of them.
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Tardigrade

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:34 pm

Didn't know that was the place to find them. Thanks.
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David Riddell
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Re: Tardigrade

Postby David Riddell » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:53 am

Have spent a bit more time looking for tardigrades yesterday and today. It seems they're reasonably common in clumps of moss on the roof and driveway, though there are nowhere near as many as nematodes and rotifers, two other groups that tolerate extremes of wetting and drying. Here's one from a tight little moss clump on our tiled roof - taken with my mobile phone in a bracket fixed on to the eyepiece of a binocular microscope. It's zoomed right in (these things are microscopic) and not terribly clear, but it's easier to work out what you're looking at in this video: https://youtu.be/89xwhm1DIbY
Tardigrade 11082019.jpg
Tardigrade 11082019.jpg (172.39 KiB) Viewed 105 times
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Tardigrade

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:07 pm

That's a fun project. Considering they are now even probably on the moon I feel like I should try to find some round here too.

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