Nature

Search for Tardigrades

They’re tiny. They’re tough. And they’re closer by than you might think!

Would you like to see a tardigrade up close? The best way is by looking at it through a microscope.

If you don’t have one yourself, maybe you could use one at your school or at a nature center. A microscope that magnifies 15 to 30 times is strong enough to show tardigrades.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • paper bag or envelope
  • small cup or other container
  • distilled or spring water
  • eyedropper
  • microscope

WHAT YOU DO

  • STEP 1:

    Go outside and find some moss. It could be growing on the ground or even on a tree.

  • STEP 2:

    Pull up a small clump of moss. Try to get a piece with as little dirt on it as possible.

  • STEP 3:

    Put the moss into the paper bag or envelope to transport it to where there is a microscope.

  • STEP 4:

    Put the moss face-down into the container. Add some water to cover it and leave overnight.

  • STEP 5:

    The next day, take the moss out of the container and squeeze it so that the water goes into the container.

  • STEP 6:

    Use the eyedropper to suck up some water. Squirt it onto a slide, then look at it under the microscope.

    You may see a number of things moving around, since tardigrades aren’t the only tiny creatures that live in moss! But soon you may spot a tardigrade. It will look barrel-shaped and move slowly, and you might be able to see its legs as it crawls along. Once you find one tardigrade, you may start recognizing others. Happy hunting!

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