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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thank you for reading,

Best,

James Weiss

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