Tardigrade Non-Invincibility

Tardigrades, aka Waterbears, aka “Moss Piglets” (I just learned that third term while traveling in Iceland) are usually referred to as basically immortal, since they are pretty much resistant to heat, freezing, radiation, and the vacuum of space. Incredible creature, and cute too, but there’s a perception problem:

Virtually every article you read or video you see about them plays up their indestructibility without recognizing that they’re totally destructible! They’re endoskeletal but with a soft shell, which means they’re basically resistant to everything except the things that would actually kill them. In the real world, tardigrades are eaten by the millions by crabs, shrimps, slugs, snails, mites, spiders, insects, and other waterbears.

The moss piglet species strategy seems to be “Who cares about the short-term survival of most of us, as long as some of us can stick around through WWIII or the next catastrophic asteroid impact?”

Thanks TierZoo (and Milezinator for bringing this to my attention):

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