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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

Rub some dirt on it!

Could it be we have been too good at ridding our bodies of parasitic worms? Believe it or not, our efforts at keeping squeaky-clean and sanitary in the developed world may be contributing to increased allergies, asthma, psoriasis, even autoimmune diseases. The human immune system, having evolved with parasitic worms, recognizes them, and has learned to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing when these tiny intruders are sensed. While getting worms may be seen as too high a price to pay for many, for people suffering from severe allergies or colitis, it may be worth it. Victims of multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease have shown a promising reduction in symptoms (even remission in Crohn’s) after ingesting whipworm eggs - a treatment that may be worth it to some until a cure is found!

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