Michalczyk, Lukasz Centre for Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.
- General appearance
- Locomotive organs
- Nervous system and sensory organs
- Digestive system
- Osmoregulatory system
- Body cavity cells
- Ecologic habitat preferences
- Trophic relationships
- Origin and phylogeny
- Evolutionary relationships within the phylum
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A phylum of microscopic, bilaterally symmetrical, eight-legged invertebrates, which are typically less than 1 mm (0.04 in.) in length. Currently, there are over 100 described genera of Tardigrada, containing over 1000 species. Commonly called tardigrades or water bears, they are worldwide in distribution and found in the overwhelming majority of habitats. Members of the Tardigrada are known widely for their cryptobiotic abilities (that is, capabilities to achieve a state in which the metabolic rate of the organism is reduced to an imperceptible level). See also: Cryptobiosis
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