Video Shows 'Weirdest Tardigrade Ever' Named After Kramer From 'Seinfeld'

A clumsy little water bear has been dubbed the "weirdest tardigrade ever" by a scientist who studies microbes.

Video of the microscopic animal was posted by James Weiss to his Instagram page. In the footage, the tardigrade can be seen moving around and kicking its tiny legs. Weiss, who is author of The Hidden Beauty of the Microscopic World, named the animal after Kramer, Jerry's neighbor in Seinfeld.

The Instagram post read: "This is Kramer the Water Bear and he is the weirdest tardigrade I've ever seen!

"I found Kramer just last night, he kept making little somersaults and rolls. It reminded me of Kramer with his awkwardness, so I named her after him."

In an email interview with Newsweek, Weiss said there were some species of tardigrade that can run really fast, but Kramer "was extra hyper."

"It's the clumsiest tardigrade I've ever seen!" he added. "It kept rolling and zooming, hitting the debris on the slide."

Tardigrades are about 1mm long and live in a wide range of habitats, from sand to damp moss and the ocean. They were first described in 1773 and since then more than 1,300 species have been found.

They are considered some of the toughest animals on Earth. In 2008, scientists discovered they could survive the vacuum of open space. They can survive for up to a decade without water by entering a state of suspended animation. They can withstand temperatures of more than 300 degrees Fahrenheit and have also survived being frozen for up to 30 years.

There could even be tardigrades living on the moon. Beresheet, an Israeli private lunar lander, crashed onto its surface in 2019, carrying a box containing thousands of dehydrated tardigrades. Nova Spivack, who founded the mission, told Wired at the time that he believes they survived the crash.

But Weiss, who got hooked on microbiology the first time he saw tiny creatures under a microscope, said people needed to understand that tardigrades are not indestructible.

"People think that tardigrades are immortal, but they are not," he said. "They are just good at surviving environmental stresses when they are in their dormant form. Otherwise, they are quite sensitive to any mechanical or chemical stresses."

Kramer belongs to a species of tardigrade known as aerial plankton, according to Weiss. When in their dormant state, they can be picked up by the wind and carried into the atmosphere. The tiny animals then float around until rain brings them back down to Earth.

"So, next time when you think the muddy rain is ruining your newly washed car, think about the somersaulting Kramer and maybe her siblings were in the rain!" he wrote in the Instagram post.