The Tardigrades Quiz
by Staff
Are you totally insane for extremophiles? Search the coldest, hottest, deepest and just plain least hospitable parts of our planet to discover the resilient world of the tardigrade.

You might know the tardigrade as this (adorable!) nickname.

  • water bear
  • fluffy bug
  • snuggle boo

Why were the little buggers given the water bear nickname?

  • They are furry and brown.
  • They look like little pandas.
  • They live in water and growl.

How big are tardigrades?

  • about the size of a pinky fingernail
  • about the size of a pencil point
  • about the size of an infant's little toe

Where do tardigrades live?

  • water
  • soil
  • both

What color are tardigrades?

  • red
  • translucent
  • both

Where could you find a tardigrade?

  • in your gut
  • living on your eyelashes
  • moss in the backyard

When were tardigrades first discovered?

  • in ancient Rome
  • in the mid-18th century
  • 1954

Named by an Italian, what does "il Tardigrado" mean?

  • slow-stepper
  • little-bugger
  • tiny-dancer

What is one piece of anatomy on a tardigrade?

  • antennae
  • horns
  • claws

What do baby tardigrades look like?

  • fish
  • eggs
  • tiny adult tardigrades

What's a very high place where we've found tardigrades?

  • floating in the atmosphere
  • a Himalayan mountain
  • on the tippy top of Yao Ming's head

What's a very low place we've found tardigrades?

  • seven meters below ground
  • at the bottom of Lake Superior
  • at the bottom of the deep ocean

How cold can tardigrades get without freezing to death?

  • 32 F (0 C)
  • -458 F (-272 C)
  • -4 F (-20 C)

How hot can tardigrades get without burning to death?

  • boiling water
  • 149 F (65 C)
  • boiling oil

What can the tardigrade do that you can't?

  • touch its elbow to its mouth
  • cryptobiosis
  • eat all the calories it wants without gaining a pound

What is cryptobiosis?

  • the act of eating rotten dead things
  • when the body stops metabolic functioning but doesn't die
  • the act of digesting one's own fat over and over

What is a tardigrade called when it's dried up?

  • tun
  • fuzz
  • bun

What needs to be done to bring a dried-out tun back to life?

  • add water
  • add water and provide calorie-rich moss
  • just wait around a few years

How long does it take a tardigrade to come back to life from cryptobiosis?

  • a few hours
  • about two weeks
  • a month or longer

In 2007, what awesome vacation did a few tardigrades take?

  • spring break in Florida
  • a trip to space
  • Christmas in Vienna

What was their vacation itinerary?

  • hang out in the vacuum of space
  • exposure to solar radiation
  • both

How many tardigrades survived the trip?

  • 1
  • all
  • two-thirds

How many identified species of tardigrades have been found?

  • 1000
  • a million
  • too many to count

Do tardigrades eat:

  • fungus
  • other tardigrades
  • both

How much pressure can tardigrades survive?

  • the amount of pressure in the deepest part of the ocean
  • six times more pressure than that found in the deepest part of the ocean
  • the pressure of every day life, but that's about it

Tardigrades must form a tun to survive what?

  • dehydration
  • freezing
  • radiation

In 2015, tardigrades finally got what?

  • a prize for being exceptional survivors
  • a town named after them
  • their entire genome mapped

What surprising result did scientists find from the genome?

  • Tardigrades had very few genes.
  • Tardigrades were actually little rhinos.
  • Nearly one-sixth of the DNA wasn't inherited, but foreign.

What is one theory for how tardigrades have acquired so much foreign DNA?

  • radioactive spider bites
  • The tardigrade's DNA breaks up a little when it's under stress and allows foreign DNA to invade.
  • They eat other animals and the DNA is absorbed.

If you find yourself (rightfully) obsessed with tardigrades, what group might you want to join?

  • The International Society of Tardigrade Hunters
  • The Royal Tardigrade Society
  • Save the Tardigrades