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Complex Reality

A picture is worth a thousand words? Yes - sometimes. But it may happen that a picture doesn't really communicate with us. Seeing and understanding is not the same. Just have a look at the following micro scenario:

[ Tardigrades - egg deposit ]

Eggs deposited by an Echiniscus tardigrade. Low mag dissecting microscope, incident light. Overall length of the egg deposit ca. 0.2 mm.

At first sight everything appears to be perfectly normal. The eggs show signs of an early development stage. Each egg is presenting a single dark spot which we have learnt to interprete as a cell nucleus. The low transparency of the egg contents and the lack of further developed anatomical detail are consistent with an early egg development stage, too.

But there is a problem. In the top left position of the egg deposit there is a spheroid structure which differs in color shade and inner detail. Moreover the egg content is moving vividly. When looking closer at higher magnification it becomes apparent that there is actually a kind of misfit within the egg deposit:

[ Bärtierchengelege, Detail ]

The same egg deposit as above, but now photographed at higher magnification by means of transmitted light. Image width ca. 0.15 mm.

The red arrow no. 2 ist pointing towards the aberrant moving egg content. Obviously regular tardigrade egg content in its early stage is unable to move autonomously. So we do have some questions: Possibly a parasitic ciliate has entered the egg shell? But why do we have just a single parasite within one egg shell only and not in the other eggs? Will this assumed parasite be able to escape from the egg shell and infect the rest of the eggs as well? Or is it no parasite at all? How did it manage to enter the outer shell of the egg deposit shell and in addition the inner egg shell?

Please send us a mail in cause you should have an explanation. A few words might be more helpful than a picture in this special case.

© Text, images and video clips by  Martin Mach  (webmaster@baertierchen.de).
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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