| "Living tardigrades are tiny creatures,
usually only one-tenth to one-half millimeter in length.... Most of the
400 species live in water films on mosses, lichens, flowering plants, soil,
or forest litter, although some inhabit freshwater or marine environments
on the sediment surfaces of ponds or ocean basins. They look like tiny eight-legged
bears, and they move with a lumbering gait---hence their common designation
of "water bear," although the etymology of their technical name
also invokes form and motion, for tardigrade means slow-stepper.|
"...[T]ardigrades are most famous for their astonishing capacity to shut off metabolism and endure long periods of dormancy---a condition known as cryptobiosis and defined as a state of dormancy so exteme that no external sign of metabolic activity can be detected at all.
"If their habitat dries up (and life in terrestrial water films can be precarious), tardigrades can pull in their legs and secrete a cuticle about their withered body. In this so-called tun stage, tardigarades can survive extreme insults perpetrated by nature ... such as ... exposure to temperatures ranging form 149 degrees C (well above the boiling point of water) to -272 degrees C.... When water becomes available again, the animal swells up and returns to activity within a few hours."
---Stephen Jay Gould, "Of Tongue Worms, Velvet Worms, and Water Bears: Fresh Evidence Confirms the Uniqueness of the Cambrian Explosion," Natural History, January 1995, p. 11.
"She allows others. In place of her.
Admits others to make full. Make swarm....
from Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's DICTEE