lunes, 24 de septiembre de 2012

Microphotograph shows that animals may be the most resistant of the planet

There is only one creature known to man which can survive the ravages of deep space.
It is the water bear - officially known as the tardigrade - and despite being a fraction of a millimetre in length and mostly consigned to a lazy life exploring pond moss, it is almost indestructible.
You can freeze it at close to absolute zero - at minus 273C - or heat it to above 151C.
Or you could keep it without water for a decade, subject it to almost any kind of pressure, or send it into the radiation-filled vacuum of space where it can survive beyond ten days without any damage.
It is just one of the micro-sized and extraordinary bugs living in our back gardens - or even in our own bodies.

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Hi! The water bear - the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the micro bug world - raises a smile to the camera

Magnified 500x: The green fronds seen here are tiny moss leaves

Would this make you jump? The springtail is one of the most abundant 'micro-creature' on the planet, with an estimated 100,000 of them for each cubic metre of soil

Not so cute: A mosquito larva is viewed in close-up - magnified more than a thousand times - to show us the intricate details of its young face

Surprisingly large: Out of all the creatures here, the velvet mite can get quite big - up to 2cm in length

 As yucky up close as you would expect: A maggot munches its way through compost

A processionary moth caterpillar, found in south and central Europe, is not a friend to humans - it can cause skin irritation and asthma 

It could be the brother of the creature above, but this is actually a silkworm moth caterpillar

This head louse is two millimetres long and inhabits the hair of the head. Each head louse female lays 80-100 eggs and the life cycle from egg to adult is only three weeks

 Next time your cat scratches, you know what to blame: A cat flea pictured among cat hairs

You can almost read personality in its face: Instead this is the head of a maggot - the offspring of a bluebottle fly

The Rocky Mountain Wood tick swells up to monstrous sizes once it finds a human to feast on

 Look away, children: This is a blood-filled tick, swollen in size after feeding on the blood of its mammal host

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