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Individual species of tardigrade can survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all other known life forms, including complete global mass extinction events due to astrophysical events, such as supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, or large meteorite impacts.
for several minutes, pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space.
The body cavity consists of a haemocoel, but the only place where a true coelom can be found is around the gonad.
No respiratory organs are found, with gas exchange able to occur across the whole of the body.
Mating occurs during the molt with the eggs being laid inside the shed cuticle of the female and then covered with sperm.
A few species have internal fertilization, with mating occurring before the female fully sheds her cuticle.
The cord possesses one ganglion per segment, each of which produces lateral nerve fibres that run into the limbs.
Many species possess a pair of rhabdomeric pigment-cup eyes, and numerous sensory bristles are on the head and body.
Two ducts run from the testis in males, opening through a single pore in front of the anus.In contrast, females have a single duct opening either just above the anus or directly into the rectum, which thus forms a cloaca.Tardigrades are oviparous, and fertilization is usually external.Johann August Ephraim Goeze originally named the tardigrade kleiner Wasserbär (Bärtierchen today), meaning "little water bear" in German.The name Tardigradum means "slow walker" and was given by Lazzaro Spallanzani in 1776.
The mouth opens into a triradiate, muscular, sucking pharynx.