The study has just been published Scientific Reports reveals one more interesting habit of tardigrade water bears – immortal creatureAstronauts The universeand is representative of a series of bizarre properties.
Although “immortal”, it is possible to live anywhere inside and outside of Earth: oceans, rivers, lakes, swamps, in the midst of pressure that crushes everything, under ultraviolet radiation, a vacuum environment, even when subjected to heat. shot out of a gun… but water bears have great trouble moving with their heavy bodies and short legs.
So they chose a kind of “bus”: snails, according to the newspaper Science Alert.
Tardigrade water bears were once known for their ability to… space travel – Photo: PHYS
Snails move very slowly but are still much faster than tiny water bears. In the new experiment, the research team led by Associate Professor Zofia Książkiewicz-Parulska and Dr Milena Roszkowska from the Institute of Environmental Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM – Poland) collected two species of snails in the Western forest. Europe and let them crawl over moss or water drops with water bears.
As a result, lightning fast, the water bear bugs quickly adhere to the slime-covered body of the snail. Each snail was hitched by 12 to 38 “immortal monsters”.
But it is also an adventurous journey because snail mucus dries very quickly. If unlucky not to find a water environment to dissolve this mucus, the water bear beetles can freeze. Once frozen, even after encountering water, only 34% of water bears are strong enough to resurrect.
These trips are actually very important in the development of the species, by facilitating long-distance “marriages”, which improve genetic diversity between different populations of water bears.
Previously, a swarm of these water bear beetles was said to have made a “historic” trip by… clinging to the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft, launched in April 2019. This spacecraft crashed, plummeting to the Moon. Scientists are still debating whether the smuggled “immortal monsters” who died in an accident are still alive and well and became the first inhabitants of the Moon.
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