Coloured SEM of head of tardigrade, Stygarctus sp.

Coloured SEM of head of tardigrade, Stygarctus sp.

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This image is part of the feature Aliens On The Beach

Credit: DAVID SCHARF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tardigrade. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Stygarctus sp., a marine tardigrade or water bear. Tardigrades are tiny, segmented animals, 0.1-1.0mm in length. They are cylindrical in shape and bear four pairs of stumpy legs, each one terminating in a claw for clinging to sand or soil. Tardigrades live in coastal waters, ditches, lakes and moss clumps on rocks, walls & roofs. Such environments are often subject to drastic temperature changes and dessication. In times of drought tardigrades enter a dehydrated "capsule" state. They can survive for years at a time in this form, swelling up and returning to life when they encounter water. Magnification: x1360 at 5x7cm size. x2140 at 4x5"

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Keywords: animal, beach fauna, invertebrate, invertebrates, meio-fauna, nature, sem, stygarctus sp., tardigrada, tardigrade, water bear, wildlife, zoology

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