Tardigrades aka water bears or moss piglets were first described at the end of the 18th century by the German pastor J.A.E. Goeze. The name Tardigrada, meaning "slow stepper," was coined by the by the Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani.
Tardigrades can be found in almost every habitat on earth! Water bears have been sighted from mountaintops to the deep sea, from tropical rain forests to the Antarctic. Most species live in freshwater or semiaquatic terrestrial environments, some marine species have been identified as well.
Tardigrades are short (0.05mm - 1.2mm in body length), plump, bilaterally symmetrical, segmented organisms. They have four pairs of legs, each of which ends in four to eight claws. They feed on the fluids of plant cells, animal cells, and bacteria.
He studied theology at University of Halle. In 1751 he became a pastor in Aschersleben and later (1762) of St. Blasius' Church in Quedlinburg. He focused his work on aquatic invertebrates, particularly insects and worms. In 1773, he was the first to describe tardigrades.