Scientists have identified another reason to impress tardigrady; some of these microscopic, almost indestructible creatures wear a shining “shield” that protects them from ultraviolet radiation.
Fluffy tardigrades – also called moss piglets or water bears – are known for their viscosity, able to withstand extreme heat, cold and pressure, as well as the vacuum of space. They can also experience the effects of the level radiation which would kill many other life forms.
Now scientists have uncovered new clues about the radiation resistance of tardigrades. Experiments with tardigrades in Russia Paramacrobiotus genus has shown that fluorescence protects them like a layer of sunscreen, turning them damaging UV rays in a harmless blue light, according to a new study
Related: 8 reasons why we love tarsigrady
Biofluorescence bathes a variety of creatures in eerie radiance. It differs from bioluminescence, which sparkles light through a chemical reaction between compounds in an animal̵7;s body; mention, for example, the bioluminescent ray produced by fireflies.
In fluorescent animals, their glow – usually red or green – is not the result of a chemical reaction. In contrast, these animals fluoresce when molecules inside their cells absorb light particles or photons from invisible UV rays and emit light with lower energy at longer wavelengths. Exist sea turtles with fluorescent shells and heads, and tiny orange frogs and chameleons with fluorescent bones. Jellyfish glows with fluorescent light as they do scorpions, parrots, nematodes and so – tardigrady, said the lead author of the study Sandip M. Esvarappa, associate professor of biochemistry at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India.
However, little is known about how most fluorescent species use their glow. For the new study, the authors questioned whether fluorescence in tarsigrades could be related to the radiation tolerance of aquatic bears.
“Both phenomena were related”
Scientists tested Paramacrobiotus resistance to ultraviolet radiation, exposing them to 15 minutes of radiation at a level sufficient to kill most microorganisms. All Paramacrobiotus The Tardigrades were still alive 30 days later Plaster pattern according to the study, tarpigrades, which were sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, died within 24 hours after irradiation.
“There was no difference in the survival of these two higher species when they were not treated with ultraviolet radiation,” Eswarappa told Live Science.
Paramacrobiotus tardigrady also glowed brightly under the influence of ultraviolet light. However, when the researchers extracted the fluorescent components from Paramacrobiotus tardigrady and applied them to both H. pattern and nematode Caenorhabditis elegans – which is also non-fluorescent and sensitive to UV – the two species “showed partial tolerance to UV radiation,” the researchers said.
“It was natural to think that the two phenomena were related,” Eswarappa said.
Previous research has suggested that biofluorescence may provide protection from ultraviolet radiation on some corals, and researchers looking for extraterrestrial life have suggested that biofluorescence may help organisms thrive and survive in distant worlds orbiting red dwarf stars. UV output than our sun – potentially inhabiting planets of many species of light beings, Earlier it was reported in Live Science.
For luminous terrestrial tarpigrades, fluorescence can increase their chances of survival in habitats where water bears are often exposed to the sun, Eswarappa said.
“Resistance to ultraviolet rays provides these productions with the ability to thrive in environments with a high UV index. For example, in the tropics,” he said.
The results were published online on October 13 in the journal Biology letters.
Originally published on Live Science.