Tardigrades are microscopic creatures ranging from 0.1mm to 1.5mm in length.  

Tardigrades have a barrel shaped body with:

  • 4 segments
  • 4 pairs of unjointed legs with claws

Extreme conditions

Tardigrades are known as polyextremophiles. That is, they are adapted to living in extreme conditions. 

They have been found to survive:

  • 10 years with no water
  • very low and very high temperatures
  • extremely low and high pressures, as found in a vacuum or in the deepest ocean trench
  • lethal doses of radiation
  • high levels of environmental toxins

About the name

The name Tardigrada literally means ‘slow walker’. They are also known as 'water bears' as their stride is reminiscent of a walking bear.