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This website provides information about tardigrades----microscopic invertebrate animals commonly known as water bears. We have recently discovered a new species of tardigrade for North America in Bloomington, Illinois. This new water bear was found on the roof top of a house in central Illinois by Karen Lindahl, an IWU Biology/Education major. 

If you are interested in leaning more about water bears or in participating in the search for other locations where this new species might be found, use the information on these web pages to begin your exploration. The Species Distribution Project pages will give you step by step methods for collecting and identifying water bears from your own backyard.

The Species Distribution Project is on hold for Summer 2000.  Please continue to collect and identify tardigrades, but wait to send questions and samples until September 2000.  We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.

Photomicrograph of Milnesiumsp. 

Click on the above image
to access a video of a living tardigrade.
Be sure that you have downloaded and installed QuickTime 3 or 4.
This will be needed to play this video clip.

Karen Lindahl and Professor Susie Balser of IWU offer to serve as mentors to secondary school students who are interested in exploring the biology and distribution of water bears.

Website Authors: Karen Lindahl and Professor Susie Balser in affiliation
with Illinois Wesleyan University. Last revised 1 Oct. 1999.