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Caption: Light micrograph (dark field illumination) of the tardigrade, or water bear, Macrobiotus sp, a small segmented animal (between 0.1mm & 1.0mm). The body is cylindrical with four stumpy legs terminating in large claws. The claws enable the tardigrade (slow walkers) to move, as the name indicates, slowly. The body covering, or cuticle, is not chitin, but a water-permeable protein compound capable of swelling. Water bears live in coastal waters, ditches, lakes & in moss clumps on rocks, walls & roofs. Such environments are subject to temperature changes and desiccation. In response the tardigrade contracts its body into a resistant form called a barrel. Mag: X 80 at 35mm size.

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Keywords: animal, invertebrate, invertebrates, macrobiotus sp., nature, tardigrada, tardigrade, water bear, wildlife, zoology

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