The newest of these tough little water bears was plucked from a parking lot in Japan
D. Stec, K. Arakawa and Ł. Michalczyk/PLOS One 2018
What a spectacular Easter basket tardigrade eggs would make — at least for those celebrating in miniature.
A new species of the pudgy, eight-legged, water creatures lays pale, spherical microscopic eggs studded with domes crowned in long, trailing streamers.
Eggs of many land-based tardigrades have bumps, spines, filaments and such, presumably to help attach to a surface, says species codiscoverer Kazuharu Arakawa. The combination of a relatively plain surface on the egg itself (no pores, for instance) plus a filament crown helps distinguish this water bear as a new species, now named Macrobiotus shonaicus, he and colleagues report February 28 in PLOS ONE.
With about 20 new species added each year to the existing 1,200 or so known worldwide, tardigrades have become tiny icons of extreme