So, When Tardigrades Get The 'Munchies'...

     What do they eat?

     The nutrition of tardigrades is quite varied for their size--they don't really discriminate; the prey of tardigrades include:

  • Bacteria

  • Plants

  • Other tardigrades!

     It has been found that some branches of tardigrada are entirely carnivorous, others are omnivores, and others still are entirely photophagous (that is, that they only prey on plants). 

      So how do they do it? That's the most fascinating part!

      Tardigrades have a specialized "sucker" that pierces the cells of plants and animals, and sucks out the nutrients inside akin to a juice box! Other species of tardigrades actually consume their prey WHOLE! Perhaps not the most intriguing characteristic, but also keep in mind that the average tardigrade is only 1mm big, and perhaps the gravity of this amazing skill becomes more apparent.

So What Hunts These Adorable Critters?

  While it'd be great to say that these little guys don't have to worry about being predated, it's just so very rarely the case in the animal world. So, here's a list of things the water bears have to look out for:

  • Amoebas

  • Nemotodes

  • And, of course, as just previously mentioned, tardigrades have to look out against each other! Quite an unfortunate lot in life, but you've got to protect yourself against all comers!