Coloured SEM of claws on the leg of a tardigrade

Coloured SEM of claws on the leg of a tardigrade

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This image is part of the feature Aliens On The Beach

Credit: DAVID SCHARF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Claws on leg of a tardigrade. Coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of the curved claws on the leg of a marine tardigrade, Stygarctus sp. This tiny segmented animal lives as meiofauna in wet beach sand. Many curved claws are visible here on the end of one leg. The body of a tardigrade is cylindrical in shape with four pairs of stumpy legs, giving it the popular name of "water bear". The animal uses these claws to move through sand, and since it can't swim the claws tightly grip onto sand grains to anchor the animal. Stygarctus sp. is a member of the important meiofauna eco- system which helps clean beaches of bacteria and pollutants. Magnification: x8600 at 6x6cm size. x12,400 at 4x4"

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

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