Cryptic insects with claws are extremely exciting.
(this article starts in the fruit shell, there is no spoiler in this article, and don't give me spoiler)
after three years of foggy notice, Hideo Kojima's high-profile new film "death stranded" was finally released on November 8, allowing many players to start a crazy delivery mode in this season when they are supposed to receive goods.
in this game, the human nature is express delivery-players need to constantly deliver goods according to orders and rebuild the "network connection" between people. However, compared with delivery, road construction and Village Netcom, what attracted me more was a group of "bugs" who appeared at the beginning of the game. They wiggle their bodies, have eight small feet, and are called "hidden bugs"-these are large water bears!
what is more exciting is that in the game, these "large water bear bugs" are still used to eat: catch a few hidden worms into the mouth, you can get the blood effect, it is said that "the taste is very unique".
this makes people wonder: can these eight-legged little guys really eat? What happens if you eat a water bug in real life?
cryptozoan and real water bear
water bear is not a species, but a general term for Tardigrada organisms. At present, there are thousands of known species. These small animals are widely distributed, from the South Pole to the North Pole, from mountains to the sea, from fresh water to moist soil and moss.
the most famous feature of water bear worms is their super cute little claws with great patience. Their magic weapon against extreme environment is "hidden life"-taking off most of the water in the body and entering a dormant state where metabolism almost stops. In the dormant state, they have strong tolerance to drought, low temperature, high temperature, vacuum, radiation and other harsh environment. When the environment is right, they can still wake up from dormancy and still look alive.
from the introduction of the game, cryptozoan is similar to but different from the slow-walking animals that existed before death stranded. One of the most important differences is a head. In reality, water bears are much smaller than these cryptozoan bugs. They are usually 0.3-0.5 mm long, while large species are only 1.2 mm long, making it difficult to see with the naked eye.
(when it's time to show the twisted eggs, the model is about 100 times larger than the real thing)
in addition, there is also a significant difference in body structure between cryptozoans and water bears. The body of a water bear worm can be divided into five parts: the head and four segments with a pair of appendages, with the last pair of small feet growing at the end of the body. The cryptozoan has a long "tail" after four body segments with legs.
(comparison of the physical structure of the real water bug and the "cryptozoan" DeathTheorys/reddit)
but in the setting of tolerance to harsh environment, the cryptozoan is much more powerful than the water bear. They can "survive anywhere" and even pass on time rain resistance to humans who eat it.
(explanation of cryptozoan in the game)
so, can real-life water bears eat?
first of all, there must be animals in nature that feed on water bears, and there are many. According to the data, predators of water bears include nematodes, mites, spiders, jumpers, some insect larvae, and-- other species of water bears. In addition, parasitic protozoa and fungi can also infect these small animals .
(so cute and can't bear to eat it | Rafael Marine Microfauna)
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what about humans? Is there anything wrong with people eating water bears? I don't think so. Although it is difficult to find records of humans specializing in eating water bugs in the real world (after all, it is too small), given the wide distribution of these walking animals and not easy to notice, it should have happened a long time ago that people inadvertently ate a few of them. So far, there is no record of water bear worms causing human diseases. (of course, it is not recommended to specialize in tasting water bears.)
will water bears survive?
if you eat a water bear raw like "death stranded", will this tenacious little creature survive in the human stomach? Probably not in reality.
unlike the invincible setting of cryptic bugs in the game, water bear bugs are far from omnipotent. And it is important that that strong patience is available only after entering a "hidden" state-which requires appropriate triggering conditions and takes some time. Grabs a wriggling water bear bug and suddenly eats it. At this time, the water bear bug does not enter the hidden state.
some experiments showed that the active water bear worm could not tolerate the environment with strong acidity: in the environment with pH 2, the water bear bug Hypsibius exemplaris died after only 5 minutes. From this point of view, they may not be able to withstand the strongly acidic gastric juice. Moreover, given that the water bear is not resistant to mechanical damage, the process of chewing may also hurt these little ones.
look for water bugs around you
in reality, there is no need for humans to eat water bugs, but it is really interesting to find water bugs around them and observe them under a microscope, and water bugs are not difficult to find at all.
in death stranding, if you want to find cryptic worms, players need to pay attention to things that look like a clump of red coral. In reality, the good choices for water bugs are lichens and moss, which can provide food for them to survive.And a moist environment.
you can look for moss in the yard around you, cut off some moss with a blade and soak them fully with some water. Next, look at the water soaked in moss with a microscope, and it's possible to find small cubs crawling around-and if you're lucky, you can even find a whole new species (for detailed tutorials, you can visit the link to Ref. 4).
enjoy these cute and tenacious little guys, but forget it.