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Water Bears: Tardigrada - Giant Yellow Water Bear (richtersius Coronifer): Species Account

Animal Life ResourceMollusks, Crustaceans, and Related SpeciesWater Bears: Tardigrada - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Water Bears And People, Giant Yellow Water Bear (richtersius Coronifer): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS

GIANT YELLOW WATER BEAR (Richtersius coronifer): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Giant yellow water bears live on mosses in high mountain habitats up to 18,300 feet (5,600 meters) and in Arctic habitats. (Illustration by Amanda Humphrey. Reproduced by permission.)

Physical characteristics: This species is a relatively large (up to 0.039 inches or 1 millimeter) water bear. They are usually yellow to orange with large black eyes. Each leg has two equally sized claws.


Geographic range: This species is found in the Arctic, Sweden, Turkey, Nepal, and Colombia.


(Specific distribution map not available.)


Habitat: Giant yellow water bears live on mosses in high mountain habitats up to 18,300 feet (5,600 meters) and in Arctic habitats.


Diet: This species is believed to suck fluids from the cells of mosses.


Behavior and reproduction: Giant yellow water bears can survive severe dehydration for up to 9 years. They are also capable of tolerating temperatures down to -320°F (-196°C) whether they are in the tun stage or not.

This species requires males and females to reproduce, but can also switch to parthenogenesis.


Giant yellow water bears and people: This species has possible uses as an experimental animal in outer space. They are capable of surviving high temperatures, vacuum, and cosmic radiation.


Conservation status: Giant yellow water bears are not considered endangered or threatened. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Kinchin, Ian M. The Biology of Tardigrades. London: Portland, 1994.


Periodicals:

Romano, F.A. "On Water Bears." Florida Entomologist 86 (2003): 134-137.

Wright, J. C., P. Westh, and H. Ramløv. "Cryptobiosis in Tardigrada." Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 67 (1992): 1-29.


Web sites:

Hunting for Water Bears in the Backyard. http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjun00/mmbearp.html (accessed on January 19, 2005).

The Incredible Water Bear. http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/index-mag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjun00/mmbearp.html (accessed on January 19, 2005).

Water Bears-Tardigrades. http://www.tardigrades.com (accessed on January 19, 2005).

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