Although the water bear possesses a ridiculous appearance, no creature can mock its ability to survive in the harshest of environments. But the water bears have not ceased to surprise us: it turns out they still carry a fluorescent shell that protects the body.
Water bears live … under water, only 0.5-1 mm in length, with a wrinkled body, looks like a paper crumpled into corncob and attached eight more legs. But looking at the long list of viable water-bear environments one will be overwhelmed by surprise. Water bears live in the vacuum of the Universe, where temperatures and pressures reach extreme extremes, and even survive well against ionic and ultraviolet radiation.
They can put the body in a “sleep” state to stay in place for decades. During this stage, the water bear creates a protein film to preserve the body cells. In the latest study, scientists uncovered one more body defense mechanism for water bears that could help prevent living under ultraviolet light that could damage living tissue: a layer of fluorescent matter that can absorb radiation and release energy in the form of blue light.
Simply put, the lethal UV rays shine on the water bear, you will see this animal emits a strange … blue color.
“Our research shows that these organisms can survive in the hottest dry environments on Earth“, Said Professor Sandeep Eswarappa, study co-author.
Shining UV rays on these water bears, they emit a blue color.
In the report published in the magazine Biology Letters, Eswarappa et al say they found a new species of water bear inhabiting a moss specimen collected on the university campus wall. When shining ultraviolet light on the water bears, named Paramacrobiotus, they not only survived but emitted blue light. Also in this UV exposure test, another species of water bear tested, H. exemplaris, was not viable.
To find out more, the research team took a sample of fluorescent material on Paramacrobiotus to apply it to H. exemplaris and received positive results: the fluorescence layer partially protected the water bear’s body from ultraviolet rays. Until a few days later, about half of the H. exemplaris water bears still survived when coated with the material.
The group of scientists was extremely surprised by the new discovery. “There are organisms that are resistant to ultraviolet rays in the world, but the water bear is the only organism that uses fluorescence as a mechanism to protect the body from fatal ultraviolet light.“, The team concluded.
Professor Łukasz Kaczmarek, a water bear expert from Poland and not involved in the study, commented that Eswarappa et al’s efforts have linked previous studies, pointing to potential use of objects. substances created by water bears to protect living organisms from extreme conditions. However, Professor Kaczmarek says that the team hasn’t specified what blocks the ultraviolet radiation, and that it is possible that the material that shields the Paramacrobiotus is not fluorescence, but a layer of protein underneath.
That means further studies are needed, to get a fluorescent armor made of water bears in order to survive in difficult life-supporting environments.
Consult the Guardian