EYE OF SCIENCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EYE OF SCIENCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Water bear tun. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water bear (Paramacrobiotus kenianus) in its dormant state, known as a tun. Water bears (or tardigrades) are tiny invertebrates that live in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as lichen and damp moss. In dry conditions, they can enter a cryptobiotic state of dessication, in which they can survive for up to a decade. Paramacrobiotus kenianus is an carnivorous species that feeds on nematodes, rotifers and protozoa. Water bears are found throughout the world, including regions of extreme temperature, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. They can also survive the high levels of radiation and vacuum of space. This specimen was found in moss in the Nakuru region of Kenya. Magnification: x410 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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