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Category: Invertebrates



“Water bears” or “moss piglets” are tiny (~0.5 mm), aquatic, segmented animals that are able to withstand extreme environmental conditions – including temperatures that are exceedingly low (almost absolute zero) and high (well over water’s boiling point), extreme pressure, high doses of ionizing radiation, and the vacuum of outer space! They can also survive without food or water for over ten years and then resume foraging and reproducing upon rehydration. Around 1,150 species have been described, and tardigrades can be found almost everywhere in the world, though they are most abundant in moist environments.



Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Tardigrada

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Interesting Animal Facts

Body horror in the insect kingdom

Learning about animals, you can discover many fascinating, even beautiful facts, but there are also things that can give you nightmares! Enter the strepsiptera (“twisted-wing parasite”). The adult female has no limbs, wings, or mouth - she simply lives in and feeds off her host (typically a wasp). When it becomes time to mate, she protrudes part of her abdomen from between the plates of her host and uses mind control to get the wasp to fly off to nearby males. Sexually mature males have wings, and fly around for about five hours before dying - spending their entire short existence seeking out females to mate with. After the female is impregnated, her own young grow and consume her. And once there is nothing left to eat, they leave their host wasp, infiltrate the nursery, and latch on to a larvae to create their own “zombie wasp” host and continue the grisly cycle!

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