How to catch tardigrades

I tweeted Miss Cellania's awesome post about how tardigrades poop crystals — possibly the best thing I've yet learned in 2021 — and was talking about it on Twitter with Randy Shulman, when he asked an interesting question …

While poking around online to figure that out, I ran across this terrific story in Wired describing how to catch tardigrades.

It seems you can find some in nearby yards, if you have the right foliage …

According to Blaxter, catching a tardigrade from your garden is an easy task: pick a 2cm-long clump of moss, wet it with tap water, and wait 20 minutes. "Then squeeze the water out into a flat glass dish, and let the mud settle," Blaxter says. "Scan the dish using a hand lens, a smartphone with a 'macro' lens over the camera, or a microscope if you have one."

You'll see a menagerie of tiny creatures in the Petri dish, from mites to roundworms. All tardigrades have four pairs of stubby clawed legs. Most have a pair of small black eyes, some have body plates. "The front three pairs are held below the body, and the last pair sticks out behind," Blaxter says. "They amble around, mainly using their front three pairs of legs to walk, and the last pair to 'hang on'."

Go check out the rest of that Wired post so you can round out your Friday by gazing at some high-rez tardigrade images.