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Duration:04:05
Uploaded:2015-09-16
Last sync:2018-11-27 16:40
Meet some of the world’s tiniest animals -- micro-animals, that can live at the bottom of the ocean, on our skin, even in space!
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SOURCES:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982208008051

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-does-the-tiny-waterbear-survive-in-outer-space-30891298/?no-ist

http://www.biology4kids.com/files/invert_main.html

http://io9.com/just-another-reason-why-tardigrades-are-the-best-micro-1531126448

http://www.wired.com/2014/03/absurd-creature-week-water-bear/

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/27/you-almost-certainly-have-mites-on-your-face/

http://www.innovateus.net/earth-matters/what-are-some-common-microscopic-animals
(Intro)

If you wanted to see some animals, where would you go? Maybe, to the park, to find some birds and squirrels. Or, to the woods to look for some deer. Or a nearby lake to see some fish.

Those are all really good choices, but, did you know that you're probably already surrounded by animals right now? I'm not talking about your pet dog or cat, I'm talking about much smaller animals called 'microanimals'.

Just how small are microanimals? They're so small you can only see them under a microscope. Besides being really, really small, microanimals are invertebrates. Meaning, they don't have a backbone, like you and I do.

These spineless, tiny creatures have amazing qualities. Most microanimals can survive in harsh environments that other animal couldn't. Like, at the very bottom of the ocean, or even in outer space.

Let's meet three of these very small and fascinating creatures. Say hello to microanimal #1: the tardigrade.

Tardigrades (sometimes called water bears), can mostly be found swimming around in droplets of water on little plants called 'moss'. Where they eat things like green algae and bacteria. Lots of tardigrades even turn green when they eat because their bodies are transparent, or see through.

But even though these animals are tiny and pretty cute, they're also incredibly hardy. They can survive almost anything. Scientists have found them living in boiling hot springs and living under ice in some of the highest mountains in the world.

Tardigrades can live through such hard conditions that scientists even sent a bunch of them into space, where they survived inside a satellite without any air or water for more than 10 days.

So step aside lions and tigers and bears, tardigrades are some of the toughest animals on Earth.

Let's move on to our second group of animals, meet: the mites. They may look like very small insects, but they're actually related to spiders and ticks. Because look, they have 8 legs.

Mites live in lots of different places, from soil to dead plants to the nests of birds in other animals. Scientists think that there are almost 50,000 different kinds of mites in the world. And some of them, live on us.

 kind of mite, called an 'Eyelash mite', can live in tiny holes in our skin where hairs like eyelashes grow. And sometimes, these mites wiggle up to the surface to crawl around, and snack on little bits of dead skin and hair that your body doesn't need anymore.

But eyelash mites don't bite or sting, so don't worry. They come in peace.

Now it's time to meet the last group of animals: the nematodes. Nematodes are also called  'round worms', because when you look at them under a microscope they look like round worms.

And even though you've probably never seen one, I'm sure you've been around a nematode or two. Because scientists think that there are more nematodes on Earth than any other kind of animal.

That's because, much like tardigrades, these worms are tough little creatures that can live almost anywhere! On mountains, or in deserts, in the heat, or the cold, in the soil, or in the water. As long as there are bacteria to eat, nematodes will be there.

In fact, even way down at the bottom of the ocean, where the pressure is too much for most other animals to survive, you'll find lots of nematodes living quite happily.

Scientists study microanimals like tardigrades, mites and nematodes because they can be found all over. And these tiny creatures can teach us a lot about how animals can survive in extreme places.

Plus, experts think that there are plenty of tiny animals that haven't even been discovered yet! So keep your microscope nearby. You could discover the next super small, super cool, microanimal.

And if you'd like to find out more about animals, big or small, just let us know. Ask an adult to help you leave a comment or email us at kids@thescishow.com. Thanks, and we'll see you next time.

(Outro)