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iLabs: Can You Help the Micro World Lab Find Me?

October 18, 2012

Have you seen me?

This Youtube video from Dr. Ralf Wagner shows a tardigrade (water bear) meeting up with a paramecium.

Our dilemma is that we are trying to find these little creatures in our lab. We have a wonderful forest floor terrarium complete with fresh moss gathered from the edge of a pond/base of a tree.

We have nematodes, rotifers, blepharisma….and we are just SURE there must be tardigrades….but we can’t find them.

A recent article mentioned that the hardest water bear to find is the first one. We concur. We recognize them from cultures, but in a specimen from the backyard, not so easy.

If anyone has any wisdom they can share with how to find them, what magnification to scan for them, any special tricks to identify them in a wet mount full of debris, whatever, we would love to hear it. We will not be defeated by a microbe and when we find what we’re seeking, you will all be the first to know!!!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Maggie Ray permalink
    October 18, 2012 9:07 am

    try soaking the moss in a separate beaker. squeeze it then squeeze it again to knock the little bears off the moss. Then let the beaker sit for a bit….they will sink to the bottom. You can decant the water from the top, then put the bottom layer of water in the petri dish for searching. This will get rid of debris.

    Also, look for movement…..and then zoom in. We humans are aware of movement!

    • October 18, 2012 9:16 am

      One question – do tardigrades prefer more “dried moss” or “soggy marshy moss”….or no preference?
      And thanks for your suggestion!

  2. October 20, 2012 7:41 pm

    Soggy moss. Tardigrades are considered aquatic macroinvertebrates,so the damper the better. If I remember correctly, they will go into a resting stage that can take them thru dry conditions. Ah, yes, it’s called cryptobiosis.
    Considering how small they are, I don’t know why they are always placed into the macroinvertebrates. Tradition, maybe?

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