Looking for eggs in Micropia

It's Easter every day in Micropia! Countless species lay eggs or something similar. From a few enormous specimens, to bulky bags full of small eggs. Go on an egg hunt and discover an immense diversity of minuscule (Easter) eggs.

Buoys on the rowboat

Using its two long arms, the copepod (Cyclops strenuus) rows through the water at 5,500 micrometers per second. In human standards more than 16 km/h! During its reproductive period, however, it sometimes goes a bit slower. Females then have a considerable burden to carry: two large bags of eggs, containing 31-66 eggs per bag, hang from her rowboat like clumsy buoys.

Like an Easter bunny with sacks full of eggs, mother copepod races through the water.

Safe in mom's skin

The water bear also lays eggs. But the more than 1,000 species of water bears do this in different ways. While many species have males fertilize the eggs, there are species in which the females lay eggs using only their own genetic material. This is called parthenogenesis. Laying the eggs in their old molt keeps them safe from predators and gives the newborn water bears time to regain strength before waddling into the big micro-world.

Mother water bear carries huge eggs within her, which eventually hatch in her old molt.

"Bacteria eggs"

Bacteria do not reproduce through eggs. They do this simply by dividing themselves in two. Still, some species do use a type of egg to survive extreme conditions: endospores. When living conditions deteriorate, they form an extremely resilient structure in their cell. This is a type of dormant daughter cell that can survive conditions such as strong UV rays, heat and disinfectants.

Using tiny spores, a type of indestructible eggs, bacteria are able to survive all kinds of extreme conditions (credits: Xi Chen / Columbia University).

Like Trojan horses

Nematodes, or roundworms, are the most common creatures on Earth. And so there are a lot of roundworm eggs. Most are laid in the soil, but the species Mermis nigrescens lays its eggs on plant leaves. Here they are eaten by herbivorous insects. Once inside the insect, the eggs hatch and the larvae begin to eat the insect from the inside.

Roundworms lay countless eggs in the strangest places.