Soon-to-be a Mother Tardigrade

This is a cute water bear with a bunch of eggs and she is trying to shed her exoskeleton. Look at her eyes, they are melting my heart.


Water bears have this exoskeleton-like cuticle and because the bears keep getting larger in their couple of months long life, they need to shed their cuticle a couple of times.


Can you see the big, round structures inside the water bear? They are eggs, well, they are called oocytes but I will refer to them as immature eggs. And the sweetest thing about this species is that, when they carry these immature eggs, they half-shed their cuticle and lay the eggs into that and carry the eggs until they hatch and the babies crawl away.


And this mama is just scratching off the cuticle under the glass, you can see that she already freed her front legs from the small-sized cuticle. She will get rid of the rest and will lay the eggs inside and carry them around like a potato sack. This behavior of mothers carrying eggs for days is described as one of the most primitive versions of parenthood. Well, I've seen worse amongst human parents.


Thank you for reading,


James Weiss

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