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EarthSky // Today's Image Release Date: Mar 13, 2014

This tiny creature is called a tardigrade

Tardigrades are microscopic animals. They can go into a state of suspended animation and survive a long time without water or oxygen, even in the vacuum of space.

Tardigrade

Tardigrade via Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa, Corinna Schulze and Ricardo Neves/Nikon Small World.

Say hello to a tardigrade as seen through a laser scanning microscope. You might have heard them called water bears or moss piglets. The biggest tardigrades never get to be more than about 1.5 mm long, and most of them spend most of their days eating algae or bacteria and swimming around in droplets of water on moss or lichen. In fact, many kinds of tardigrades turn green when they eat because their bodies are transparent. They are fascinating … and adorable.

For more info and pics of tardigrades, check out the Goldstein Lab’s website, at UNC Chapel Hill.

Via io9.

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