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The bin shed roof (I) or: "It is as simple as that!"

From time to time we are being asked where to buy tardigrades. To buy? Agreed, we are living in the internet and most of us are buying via internet - nevertheless there appears to be no commercial source for terrestrial (moss) tardigrades yet.
About 20 years ago, when we began with this magazine, we were avidly looking for those beautiful red or orange Echiniscus tardigrades as shown in the banner above. Finally we came across them, at the very northern part of Munich, on the cement walls of a huge artificial lake. But this came to an end when the security staff of a reknowned car maker suspected us of checking out their nearby test drive parcours. Of course they were wrong as we are not interested in modern car design at all (strange, crumpled metal sheet, sad colors, and typically a design that can't compete with the automobile beauties of past times - just think of the beautiful colors of the Renault Dauphine or the elegance of one of those Bugatti, Voisin oder Facel Vega products). Anyway, after this disturbance we had a bizarre feeling that the distrust of the car maker's security staff had spoiled our tardigrade paradise harmony, so we left it at once and forever. Meanwhile we have learnt that virtually the same tardigrades can be found in many Munich backyards as well, possibly just a few hundred meters away.

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Fig. 1: At this place on the bin shed roof of a backyard in the very center of Munich we came across a rich variety of tardigrades, not surprisingly including the raptor Milnesium tardigradum but also our beloved Echiniscus tardigrades!

The red arrow in fig. 1 is marking a typical tardigrade habitat, on an area exposed to sunlight and on cement which is a nutrition additive for the tardigrades (as they have to build their stylets with lots of calcium). But sad enough,, the wording "came across" is straight to the point as the roof was "cleaned" in the meantime, with most of the tardigrades murdered as an aside. It goes without saying that a moderate moss growth on a cement roof poses no risk whatsoever to a bin building. But there are many commercials placed by algizide producers with the following "information":

- Mosses and lichens make your building look ugly
- The risks are immense: soiling, material damage, slippery surfaces!
- There is an urgent need for action!
- Take care that your children don't come in contact with those products (sic!)

In the following magazine we will document what we found in the samples before the "moss conflict".

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Fig. 2: This is a small appetizer and preview of the tardigrade situation befor the cleaning catastrophe. Thanks to our old-fashioned blueish LED we can let the Echiniscus "tuns" look like blue sapphires. Though we are depicting only a single tun here (on the dry sample) we can be sure that there are many more hiding within the moss jungle. The one shown obviously was not quick enough to take refuge in the interior volume of the moss, thus was trapped by desiccation on the outside.

See you!

© Text, images and video clips by  Martin Mach  (webmaster@baertierchen.de).
The Water Bear web base is a licensed and revised version of the German language monthly magazine  Bärtierchen-Journal . Style and grammar amendments by native speakers are warmly welcomed.

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